Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 6, pp 1277–1287 | Cite as

Patterns in reproductive dynamics of burrowing ghost shrimp Trypaea australiensis from small to intermediate scales

  • Douglas RotherhamEmail author
  • R. J. West
Original Paper


Many studies have examined latitudinal differences in reproduction of marine invertebrates, but few have measured variation at small to intermediate scales (kilometres to hundreds of kilometres), which may confound comparisons across broader geographic regions. Here, we examined variation in the reproductive biology of a little-studied species of burrowing ghost shrimp (Trypaea australiensis) at spatial scales ranging from km (between sites within estuaries) to 100s of km (among estuaries), over a 2-year period in south-eastern Australia. Sex ratios of populations were consistently biased towards females through time and space. Although reproduction started in summer months across all spatial scales, there was a pattern of earlier spawning from southern to northern estuaries. Integration of results from previous studies of T. australiensis supported a similar pattern of earlier breeding from high to low latitudes. Fecundity of shrimp increased linearly with female size, but the relationship varied inconsistently across the different spatial scales. Similarly, sizes at maturity varied from small to intermediate scales and observed patterns were not consistent with general predictions e.g. shrimp were smaller and ovigerous at smaller sizes at sites in the southern-most estuary, compared to estuaries further north. We found no differences in the sizes of embryos across the different spatial scales, but confirm that T. australiensis employs a strategy of high fecundity and small embryo size compared to other thalassinidean shrimp. Our results suggest that factors at smaller scales (e.g. food availability) may be important in affecting reproductive dynamics of T. australiensis, but further research is needed in testing hypotheses about patterns observed here. A lack of similar studies on other marine organisms remains an impediment to understanding life-history strategies and the sustainable management and conservation of populations.


Reproductive Biology Marine Invertebrate Reproductive Trait Female Size Ovigerous Female 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are grateful to the various people that assisted with fieldwork on occasions. D.R held an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) and received assistance from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Wollongong. This research complied with state and federal laws applying to New South Wales, Australia.


  1. Aiken DE (1969) Ovarian maturation and egg laying in crayfish Orconectes; influence of temperature and photoperiod. Can J Zool 48:931–935. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aiken DE, Waddy SL (1989) Interaction of temperature and photoperiod in the regulation of spawning by American lobsters (Homarus americanus). Can J Fish Aquat Sci 46:145–148. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aiken DE, Waddy SL (1990) Winter temperature and spring photoperiod requirements for spawning in the American lobster, Homarus americanus, H. MILNE EDWARDS, 1837. J Shellfish Res 9:41–43Google Scholar
  4. Anon (2008) Sunrise, sunset and twilight times. Geoscience Australia
  5. Bay-Schmith E, Pearse JS (1987) Effect of fixed day lengths on the photoperiodic regulation of gametogenesis in the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Invertebr Reprod Dev 11:287–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berkenbusch K, Rowden AA (2000) Latitudinal variation in the reproductive biology of the burrowing ghost shrimp Callianassa filholi (Decapoda: Thalassinidea). Mar Biol (Berl) 136:497–504. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Choy SC (1985) A rapid method for removing and counting eggs from fresh and preserved decapod crustaceans. Aquaculture 48:369–372. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clarke A (1987) Temperature, latitude and reproductive effort. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 55:111–119Google Scholar
  9. Coleman N (1981) Notes on Callianassa (Crustacea: Thalassinidea) in Western Port, Victoria. Proc R Soc Vic 92:201–205Google Scholar
  10. Defeo O, Cardoso RS (2002) Macroecology of population dynamics and life history traits of the mole crab Emerita brasiliensis in Atlantic sandy beaches of South America. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 239:169–179. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dugan JE, Hubbard DM, Wenner AM (1994) Geographic variation in life history of the sand crab, Emirita analoga (Stimpson) on the California coast. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 181:255–278. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dumbauld BR, Armstrong DA, Feldman KL (1996) Life-history characteristics of two sympatric thalassinidean shrimps, Neotrypaea californiensis and Upogebia pugettensis, with implications for oyster culture. J Crustac Biol 16:689–708. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dworschak PC (1988) The biology of Upogebia pusilla (PETAGNA) (Decapoda, Thalassinidea) III. Growth and production. PSZNI Mar Ecol 9:51–78. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dworschak PC (2000) Global diversity in the Thalassinidea. J Crust Biol 20(Special Number 2):238–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Felder DL (2001) Diversity and ecological significance of deep-burrowing macrocrustaceans in coastal tropical waters of the Americas (Decapoda: Thalassinidea). Interciencia 26:440–449Google Scholar
  16. Felder DL, Lovett DL (1989) Relative growth and sexual maturation in the estuarine ghost shrimp Callianassa louisianensis, Schmitt 1935. J Crustac Biol 9:540–553. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gaylord B, Gaines SD, Siegel DA, Carr MH (2005) Marine reserves exploit population structure and life history in potentially improving fisheries yields. Ecol Appl 15:2180–2191. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hailstone TS, Stephenson W (1961) The biology of Callianassa (Trypaea) australiensis Dana 1852 (Crustacea, Thalassinidea). Univ Queensl Pap Dep Zool 1:259–285Google Scholar
  19. Hanekom N, Erasmus T (1989) Determinations of the reproductive output of populations of a thalassinid prawn Upogebia africana (Ortmann) in the Swartkops estuary. S Afr J Zool 24:244–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hastings MH (1981) The life cycle and productivity of an intertidal population of the amphipod Ampelisca brevicornis. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 12:665–677. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hilborn R, Walters R (1992) Quantitative fisheries stock assessment: choice, dynamics and uncertainty. Chapman and Hall, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hill BJ (1977) The effect of heated effluent on egg production in the estuarine prawn Upogebia africana (Ortmann). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 29:291–302. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Imazu M, Asakura A (1994) Distribution, reproduction and shell utilization patterns in three species of intertidal hermit crabs on a rocky shore on the Pacific Coast of Japan. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 184:41–65. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jones MB, Simons MJ (1983) Latitudinal variation in reproductive characteristics of a mud crab, Helice crassa (Grapsidae). Bull Mar Sci 33:656–670Google Scholar
  25. Kenway MJ (1981) Biological studies of Callianassa australiensis (Dana). M.Sc. Thesis, Department of Zoology, James Cook University, Queensland, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  26. Kinne O (ed) (1970) Marine ecology, V. 1: environmental factors, part 1. A comprehensive, integrated treatise on life in oceans and coastal waters. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Lardies MA, Castilla JC (2001) Latitudinal variation in the reproductive biology of the commensal crab Pinnaxodes chilensis (Decapoda: Pinnotheridae) along the Chilean coast. Mar Biol (Berl) 139:1125–1133. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lester SE, Gaines SD, Kinlan BP (2007) Reproduction on the edge: large-scale patterns of individual performance in a marine invertebrate. Ecology 88:2229–2239. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McPhee DP, Skilleter GA (2002a) Harvesting of intertidal animals for bait for use in a recreational fishing competition. Proc R Soc Queensl 110:93–101Google Scholar
  30. McPhee DP, Skilleter GA (2002b) Aspects of the biology of the yabby Trypea australiensis (Dana) (Decapoda: Thalassinidea) and the potential of burrow counts as an indirect measure of population density. Hydrobiologia 485:133–141. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nurse RP (1980) The reproduction, embryonic development and larval development of Callianassa australiensis (Dana), 1852. M.Sc. Thesis, University of SydneyGoogle Scholar
  32. Oh CW, Hartnoll RG (2004) Reproductive biology of the common shrimp Crangon crangon (Decapoda: Crangonidae) in the central Irish Sea. Mar Biol (Berl) 144:303–316. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Pezzuto PR (1998) Population dynamics of Sergio mirim (Rodrigues 1971) (Decapoda: Thalassinidea: Callianassidae) in Cassino Beach, southern Brazil. Mar Ecol (Berl) 19:89–109. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Phillips NE (2007) A spatial gradient in the potential reproductive output of the sea mussel Mytilus californianus. Mar Biol (Berl) 151:1543–1550. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Poore GCB, Griffin DJG (1979) The Thalassinidea Crustacea Decapoda of Australia. Rec Aust Mus 32:217–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Potter IC, Chrystal PJ, Loneragan NR (1983) The biology of the blue manna crab Portunus pelagicus in an Australian estuary. Mar Biol (Berl) 78:75–85. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Robertson AI (1977) Ecology of juvenile King George Whiting Sillaginodes punctatus (Cuvier & Valenciennes) (Pisces: Perciformes) in Western Port, Victoria. Aust J Mar Freshw Res 28:35–43. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rotherham D, West RJ (2003) Comparison of methods for sampling populations of ghost shrimp, Trypaea australiensis (Decapoda: Thalassinidea: Callianassidae). Fish Res 60:585–591. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rotherham D, West RJ (2007) Spatial and temporal patterns of abundance and recruitment of ghost shrimp (Trypaea australiensis) across hierarchical scales in south-eastern Australia. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 341:165–175. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rowden AA, Jones MB (1994) A contribution to the biology of the burrowing mud shrimp, Callianassa subterranea (Decapoda: Thalassinidea). J Mar Biol Assoc UK 74:623–635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sachlikidis NG, Jones CM, Seymour JE (2005) Reproductive cues in Panulirus ornatus. NZ J Mar Freshw Res 39:305–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stearns SC (1976) Life history tactics: a review of ideas. Q Rev Biol 51:3–47. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tamaki A, Ingole B, Ikebe K, Muramatsu K, Taka M, Tanaka M (1997) Life history of the ghost shrimp, Callianassa japonica Ortmann (Decapoda: Thalassinidea), on an intertidal sandflat in western Kyushu, Japan. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 210:223–250. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Thessalou-Legaki M, Kiortsis V (1997) Estimation of the reproductive output of the burrowing shrimp Callianassa tyrrhena: a comparison of three different biometrical approaches. Mar Biol (Berl) 127:435–442. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tunberg B (1986) Studies on the population ecology of Upogebia deltaura (Crustacea: Thalassinidea). Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 22:753–766. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Underwood AJ (1997) Experiments in ecology: their logical design and interpretation using analysis of variance. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  47. Underwood AJ, Chapman MG, Connell SD (2000) Observations in ecology: you can’t make progress on processes without understanding the patterns. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 250:97–115. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wynberg RP, Branch GM (1991) An assessment of bait-collecting for Callianassa kraussi Stebbing in Langebaan Lagoon, Western Cape, and of associated avian predation. S Afr J Mar Sci 11:141–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.NSW Department of Primary IndustriesCronulla Fisheries Research Centre of ExcellenceCronullaAustralia

Personalised recommendations