Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 1, pp 31–46 | Cite as

Spatiotemporal coupling/decoupling of planktonic larvae and benthic settlement in decapods in the Scottish east coast

  • Maria PanEmail author
  • Graham J. Pierce
  • Carey O. Cunningham
  • Steve J. Hay
Original Paper


Settlement patterns and the relationship between meroplanktonic larvae and settlement in decapods were studied on the Scottish east coast. Artificial settlement substrates (ASS), deployed at two locations (sandy vs. rocky sea substrates), were employed to collect megalopae and newly settled juveniles. Abundance of meroplanktonic larvae was used as an indicator of larval supply. The results showed a clear seasonality in settlement rates, and in some cases, significant differences between sites were detected. Nevertheless, the interference of the ASS with the surrounding habitat limits the study of spatial variability in settlement rates. Significant cross-correlation was found between the abundance of megalopae and juveniles in the collectors and planktonic larval abundance a month earlier. For individual species, this relationship was observed only in Pisidia longicornis. Complexities caused by the great variety of pre- and post-settlement processes, alongside effects of secondary dispersals of early juveniles may have obscured the relationship between meroplanktonic larvae and juveniles in other species.


Settlement Rate Decapod Crustacean Plankton Sample Larval Abundance Zoeal Stage 
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.



The authors would like to thank John Dunn and the Temora crew for their help during collectors and plankton sampling. This work has been funded by a PhD grant to Pan M., provided by FRS Marine Laboratory Aberdeen, now Scottish Government, Marine Scotland-Science, Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen. G.J. Pierce was supported through the EU-funded ANIMATE project (MEXC-CT-2006-042337).


  1. Amaral V, Paula J (2007) Carcinus maenas (Crustacea: Brachyura): influence of artificial substrate type and patchiness on estimation of megalopae settlement. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 346:21–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Christiansen ME, Anger K (1990) Complete larval development of Galathea intermedia Lilljeborg reared in laboratory culture (Anomura: Galatheidae). J Crustacean Biol 10:87–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. de la Manche. Identification, période, abondance. Editions Ifremer, 176 pGoogle Scholar
  4. Demain D (2008) Settlement ecology of juvenile cod Gadus morhua, haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus and whiting Merlangius merlangus. PhD Thesis, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK, 195 ppGoogle Scholar
  5. dos Santos A, González-Gordillo JI (2004) Illustrated keys for the identification of the Pleocyemata (Crustacea, Decapoda) zoeal stages, from the coastal region of south-western Europe. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 84:205–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. dos Santos A, Santos AMP, Conway DVP, Bartilotti C, Lourenço P, Queiroga H (2008) Diel vertical migration of decapod larvae in the Portuguese coastal upwelling ecosystem: implications for offshore transport. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 359:171–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fernández M (1999) Cannibalism in Dungeness crab Cancer magister: effects of predatory-prey size ratio, density, and habitat type. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 182:221–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fernández M, Castilla JC (2000) Recruitment of Homalaspis plana in intertidal habitats of central Chile and implications for the current use of management and marine protected areas. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 208:157–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fernández M, Iribarne O, Armstrong D (1993) Habitat selection by young-of-the-year Dungeness crab Cancer magister and predation risk in intertidal habitats. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 92:171–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fincham AA, Williamson DI (1978) Crustacea decapoda: larvae. VI Caridea, Families Palaemonidae and Processidae. Fich Ident Zooplancton 159(169):1–8Google Scholar
  11. Gebauer P, Walter I, Anger K (1998) Effects of substratum and conspecific adults on the metamorphosis of Chasmagnathus granulata (Dana) (Decapoda: Grapsidae) megalopae. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 223(2):185–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gebauer P, Paschke K, Anger K (1999) Costs of delayed metamorphosis: reduced growth and survival in early juveniles of an estuarine grapsid crab, Chasmagnathus granulata. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 238(2):271–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Giménez L, Dick S (2007) Settlement of shore crab Carcinus maenas on a mesotidal open habitat as a function of transport mechanisms. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 338:159–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. González-Gurriarán E, Mendez M (1986) Crustáceos decápodos das costas de Galicia. I. Brachyura. Cuadernos da Área de Ciencias Biológicas, Seminario de Estudos Galegos, vol 2, 2nd edn. Ediciones do Castro, A Coruña, p 242Google Scholar
  15. Gore RH (1978) Larval development of Galathea rostrata under laboratory conditions, with a discussion of larval development in the Galatheidae (Crustacea Anomura). Fish B-NOAA 76(4):781–806Google Scholar
  16. Harvey AW (1996) Delayed metamorphosis in Florida hermit crabs: multiple cues and constraints (Crustacea: Decapoda: Paguridae and Diogenidae). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 141(1–3):27–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hayward PJ, Isaac MJ, Makings P, Moyse J, Naylor E, Smaldon G (1995) Crustaceans (Phylum Crustacea). In: Hayward PJ, Ryland JS (eds) Handbook of the marine Fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 289–461Google Scholar
  18. Hong SY, Ingle RW (1987) Larval development of the circular crab, Atelecyclus rotundatus (Olivi) (Crustacea:Brachyura: Atelecyclidae) reared in the laboratory. J Nat Hist 21:1539–1560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ingle RW (1981) The larval and postlarval development of the edible crab Cancer pagurus Linnaeus (Decapoda, Brachyura). Bull Br Mus Nat Hist (Zool) 40:211–236Google Scholar
  20. Ingle RW (1982) Larval and post-larval development of the slender-legged spider crab, Macropodia rostrata (Linnaeus) (Oxyrhyncha: Majidae: Inachinae), reared in laboratory. Bull Br Mus Nat Hist (Zool) 42:207–225Google Scholar
  21. Ingle RW (1983) Shallow-water crabs: keys and notes of the identification of the species. In: Kermack DM, Barnes RSK (eds) Synopses of the British Fauna No. 25. Linnean Society of London and The Estuarine and Brackish-Water Science Association. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 243Google Scholar
  22. Ingle RW (1992) Larval stages of Northeastern Atlantic crabs. An illustrated key. Chapman & Hall (eds), Natural History Museum publications, London, UK, pp 363Google Scholar
  23. Ingle RW (1993) Hermit crabs of the Northeastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea: an illustrated key. Chapman & Hall identification guides, 4. Chapman & Hall, London, p 495Google Scholar
  24. Ingle RW, Rice AL (1984) The juvenile stages of eight swimming crab species (Crustacea: Brachyura: Portunidae); a comparative study. Bull Br Mus Nat Hist (Zool) 46(4):345–354Google Scholar
  25. Jensen GC (1991) Competency, settling behaviour, and postsettlement aggregation by porcelain crab megalopae (Anomura: Porcellanidae). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 153:49–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lindley JA, Williams R, Conway DVP (1994) Variability in dry weight and vertical distributions of decapod larvae in the Irish Sea and North Sea during the spring. Mar Biol 120:385–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Loher T, Armstrong DA (2000) Effects of habitat complexity and relative larval supply on the establishment of early benthic phase red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus Tilesius, 1815) populations in Auke Bay, Alaska. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 245:83–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Marlin: Marine information network for Britain and Ireland
  29. Martin J (2001) Les larves de crustacés décapodes des côtes françaises de la Manche. Identification, période, abondance. Editions Ifremer, 176 pGoogle Scholar
  30. Miron G, Boudreau B, Bourget E (1995) Use of larval supply in benthic ecology: testing correlations between larval supply and larval settlement. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 124:301–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Moksnes PO (2002) The relative importance of habitat-specific settlement, predation and juvenile dispersal for distribution and abundance of young juvenile shore crabs carcinus maenas L. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 271:41–73Google Scholar
  32. Moksnes PO, Wennhage H (2001) Methods for estimating decapod larval supply and settlement: importance of larval behavior and development stage. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 209:257–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Moreira FT, Harari J, Flores AAV (2007) Neustonic distribution of decapod planktonic stages and competence of brachyuran megalopae in coastal waters. Mar Freshwater Res 58:519–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pallas A, García-Calvo B, Corgos A, Bernardez C, Freire J (2006) Distribution and habitat use patterns of benthic decapod crustaceans in shallow waters: a comparative approach. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 324:173–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Palma AT, Wahle RA, Steneck RS (1998) Different early post-settlement strategies between American lobsters Homarus americanus and rock crabs Cancer irroratus in the Gulf of Maine. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 162:215–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Paula J, Silva IC, Francisco SM, Flores AAV (2006) The use of artificial benthic collectors for assessment of spatial patterns of settlement of megalopae of Carcinus maenas (L.) (Brachyura: Portunidae) in the lower Mira Estuary, Portugal. Hydrobiologia 557:69–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Peliz A, Marchesiello P, Dubert J, Marta-Almeida M, Roy C, Queiroga H (2007) A study of crab larvae dispersal on the Western Iberian Shelf: physical processes. J Marine Syst 68:215–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pike RB, Williamson DI (1958) Crustacea decapoda: larvae. XI. Paguridea, Coenobitidea, Dromiidea and Homolidea. Fich Ident Zooplancton 81:1–10Google Scholar
  39. Pike RB, Williamson DI (1961) The larvae of Spirontocaris and related genera (Decapoda, Hippolytidae). Crustaceana 2:187–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pike RB, Williamson DI (1972) Crustacea decapoda: larvae. X. Galatheidea. Fich Ident Zooplancton 139:1–5Google Scholar
  41. Queiroga H, Blanton J (2005) Interactions between behaviour and physical forcing in the control of horizontal transport of decapod crustacean larvae. Adv Mar Biol 47:107–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Queiroga H, Almeida MJ, Alpuim T, Flores AAV, Francisco S, González-Gordillo JI, Miranda AI, Silva I, Paula J (2006) Tide and control of megalopal suply to estuarine crab populations on the Portuguese west coast. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 307:21–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Queiroga H, Cruz T, dos Santos A, Dubert J, González-Gordillo JI, Paula J, Peliz A, Santos AMP (2007) Oceanographic and behavioural processes affecting invertebrate larval dispersal and suply in the western Iberia upwelling ecosystem. Prog Oceanogr 74:174–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Quijón PA, Snelgrove PVR (2005) Spatial linkages between decapod planktonic and benthic adult stages in a Newfoundland fjordic system. J Mar Res 63:841–862CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Reyns NB, Eggleston DB, Luettich RA Jr (2006) Secondary dispersal of early juvenile blue crabs within a wind-driven estuary. Limnol Oceanogr 51(5):1982–1995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Robinson M, Tully O (2000a) Seasonal variation in community structure and recruitment of benthic decapods in a sub-tidal cobble habitat. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 206:181–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Robinson M, Tully O (2000b) Spatial variability in decapod community structure and recruitment in sub-tidal habitats. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 194:133–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Smaldon G (1993) British Coastal Shrimps and Prawns. Linnean Society Synopsis of the British Fauna (New Series), vol 15, 2nd edn, pp 142Google Scholar
  49. van Montfrans J, Ryer CH, Orth RJ (2003) Substrate selection by blue crab Callinectes sapidus megalopae and first juvenile instars. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 260:209–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wahle RA (2003) Revealing stock-recruitment relationships in lobsters and crabs: is experimental ecology the key? Fish Res 65:3–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Williamson DI (1957a) Crustacea decapoda: larvae. I. General. Fich Ident Zooplancton 67:1–7Google Scholar
  52. Williamson DI (1957b) Crustacea decapoda: larvae. V.Caridea, Family Hippolytidae. Fich Ident Zooplancton 68:1–5Google Scholar
  53. Williamson DI (1960) Crustacea decapoda: larvae. VII. Caridea, Family Crangonidae. Stenopodidea. Fich Ident Zooplancton 92:1–5Google Scholar
  54. Williamson DI (1962) Crustacea decapoda: larvae. III. Caridea, Families Oplophoridae, Nematocarcinidae and Pasiphaeidae. Fich Ident Zooplancton 92:1–5Google Scholar
  55. Williamson DI (1967) Crustacea decapoda: larvae. IV. Caridea Families: Pandalidae and Alpheidae. Fich Ident Zooplancton 109:1–5Google Scholar
  56. Williamson DI (1983) Crustacea decapoda: larvae. VIII. Nephropidea, Palinuridea and Eryonidea. Fich Ident Zooplancton 167(168):1–8Google Scholar
  57. Zuur AF, Ieno EN, Smith GM (2007) Analysing ecological data. Springer, New York. pp 672Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Pan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Graham J. Pierce
    • 2
    • 3
  • Carey O. Cunningham
    • 1
  • Steve J. Hay
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine ScotlandAberdeenUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.OceanlabUniversity of AberdeenNewburgh, AberdeenshireUK
  3. 3.Instituto Español de Oceanografía, Centro Oceanográfico de VigoVigoSpain

Personalised recommendations