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Reproductive Biology of Three Land Hermit Crabs (Decapoda: Anomura: Coenobitidae) in Okinawa, Japan.

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Title:Reproductive Biology of Three Land Hermit Crabs (Decapoda: Anomura: Coenobitidae) in Okinawa, Japan.
Authors:Nakasone, Yukio
Date Issued:Apr 2001
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Nakasone Y. 2001. Reproductive biology of three land hermit crabs (Decapoda: Anomura: Coenobitidae) in Okinawa, Japan. Pac Sci 55(2): 157-169.
Abstract:Reproductive ecological research on three land hermit crabs, Coenobita
rugosus, C. purpureus, and C. cavipes, was conducted in the southern part of
Okinawa-jima island in 1985, 1986, 1987, and for a short period in 1999. Size
(carapace length) of the smallest ovigerous female was 3.93 mm for C. rugosus,
3.83 mm for C. purpureus, and 9.49 mm for C. cavipes. Breeding season is late
May to November for C. rugosus, late May to mid-September for C. purpureus,
and mid-May to late August for C. cavipes. Some females of all three species
probably produced at least two broods during the breeding season. The smallest
males in which spermatophores were present in dissected vas deferens were
4.24 mm for C. rugosus and 4.94 mm for C. purpureus. Coenobita cavipes females
produced more, smaller eggs in comparison with C. purpureus. My observations
suggest that coenobitid crabs living in areas with a low supply of shells or with
poor shells reproduce at smaller sizes, as is the case in marine hermit crabs.
Time of onset of larval release by C. rugosus, with its protracted breeding season,
varied according to the seasonal shift in time of sunset. The period during which
females of C. rugosus released larvae was about 2 hr in spring tides but was much
longer (3 to 5 hr) during neap tides. Larger females of C. purpureus occupied
shells derived from the land snail Achatina fulica; smaller ones used shells from
the marine snail Lunella granulata. Use of mutually exclusive larval release sites
by the larger and smaller females of C. purpureus remained unchanged over
13 yr, from 1986 to 1999. This behavioral difference may be related to the differences
in their habitats (i.e., inland versus shore) and to the route traveled by
the larger crabs in reaching the sea from inland sites.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 55, Number 2, 2001

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