Life history of the copepod Hemicyclops spinulosus (Poecilostomatoida, Clausidiidae) associated with crab burrows with notes on male polymorphism and precopulatory mate guarding
Plankton and Benthos Research
A 25-month field survey was conducted to investigate the life cycle and seasonal population fluctuations in the poecilostomatoid copepod Hemicyclops spinulosus in the burrows of the ocypodid crab Macrophthalmus japonicus in the mud-flats of the Tama-River estuary, central Japan. On the basis of sample collections in the water column and from the crab burrows, it was confirmed that H. spinulosus is planktonic during the naupliar stages and settles on the bottom during the first copepodid stage
... t copepodid stage to inhabit the burrows. Furthermore, the copepods' reproduction took place mainly during early summer to autumn with a successive decrease from autumn to winter. A supplementary observation on the burrows of the polychaete Tylorrhynchus heterochaetus suggested that these burrows are another important habitat of H. spinulosus. There were additional discoveries of male polymorphism and precopulatory mate guarding behavior by males, suggesting an adaptation in the reproductive strategy of this copepod to their narrow habitat spaces and low population densities, in contrast to the congeneric species H. gomsoensis, which co-occurs in the estuary but attains much larger population sizes and is associated with hosts having much larger burrow spaces.