Developmental and reproductive parameters and their relationships were studied in the marine isopod Idotea linearis. We hypothesized that (1) the temporal patterns of molting and growth undergo complex and sex-specific changes with age as well as with the onset of sexual maturation, and that (2) sexual maturation (and dependent parameters) is controlled by the photoperiod. Both males and females were singly cultured in the laboratory at two alternative photoperiods (constant long and short days, respectively) from hatching until death. Males molted and grew throughout their life, showing a steady increase in stage duration and body size with each molt. Females, in contrast, showed much more complex modifications in molt chronology due to reproductive demands. There was some variability in the stage number, when females reached maturity. Reaching maturity early in the succession of molts was associated with smaller body size at maturity, smaller size of broods, but higher average number of broods per lifetime. Post-puberty molts in females occurred without further growth, and successive broods did not differ in size. The photoperiod strongly affected sexual maturation (and thus in turn molting and growth patterns) in females, while males remained completely unaffected by the photo regime.
Helmholtz Research Programs > PACES II (2014-2018) > TOPIC 2: Fragile coasts and shelf sea > WP 2.3: Evolution and adaptation to climate change and anthropogenic stress in coastal and shelf systems