Entrainment of the larval release rhythm of the crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii (Brachyura: Xanthidae) by cycles in hydrostatic pressure
This study investigated the entrainment of a larval release rhythm by determining whether a tidal cycle in hydrostatic pressure could entrain the circatidal rhythm in larval release by the crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii (Gould). Ovigerous females were collected from a non-tidal estuary. The time of larval release by individual crabs was monitored under constant conditions with a time-lapse video system. Crabs with mature embryos at the time of collection had a pronounced circadian rhythm in larval release with a free running period of 25.1 h. Crabs with immature embryos that were maintained under constant conditions from the time of collection until larval release retained a weak circadian rhythm. Other crabs with immature embryos were exposed to a tidal cycle in step changes in hydrostatic pressure equivalent to 1 m of water. This cycle entrained a circatidal rhythm in larval release. The free-running period was 12.1 h and larvae were released at the time of the transition from low to high pressure. Although past studies demonstrated that a tidal cycle in hydrostatic pressure could entrain activity rhythms in crustaceans, this is the first study to show that pressure can entrain a larval release rhythm. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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