Behavioral responses of larvae of the crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii (Brachyura: Xanthidae) during diel vertical migration

Published

Journal Article

Larval Rhithropanopeus harrisii (Gould) show nocturnal vertical migration. Larval behavioral responses to different rates of increase and decrease in light intensity were measured in an apparatus with a natural angular light distribution. A central objective was to establish whether phototaxis actually participates in vertical migration. At sunset the level of light adaptation controlled the readiness of the larvae to migrate, while an ascent was initiated by a preductable relative decrease in intensity (e.g. 4.0x10-3s-1). Rates of relative decrease around sunset would evoke continuous upward swimming. Gravity was the orienting cue and there was no change in swimming speed during the ascent. At sunrise, the larval descent was initiated by exposure to an absolute light intensity of about 0.23 log unit above the lower visual threshold. Light served as an orienting cue, as larvae descended by a negative phototaxis. Thus, phototaxis is not a laboratory artifact and does participate in vertical migration. A consideration of behavioral responses of other crustacean zooplankton indicates there is considerable variation in the initiating and directing cues for vertical movements. The variety of behavioral responses of R. harrisii suggests that a synthesis of hypotheses about migration may provide the proper basis for explaining the mechanisms underlying diel vertical migration. © 1985 Springer-Verlag.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Forward, RB

Published Date

  • December 1, 1985

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 90 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 9 - 18

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1432-1793

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0025-3162

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/BF00428209

Citation Source

  • Scopus