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Duration of Extended Parental Care in Marine Amphipods

Martin Thiel
Journal of Crustacean Biology
Vol. 19, No. 1 (Feb., 1999), pp. 60-71
Published by: Brill on behalf of The Crustacean Society
DOI: 10.2307/1549547
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1549547
Page Count: 12
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Duration of Extended Parental Care in Marine Amphipods
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Abstract

Several peracarid species provide parental care for their growing offspring after these have left the brood pouch of the female. In this study, I examined the duration of extended parental care in 3 soft-bottom dwelling amphipod species: the epibenthic suspension feeder Dyopedos monacanthus (Podoceridae), the burrow-dwelling filter-feeder Leptocheirus pinguis (Aoridae), and the burrow-dwelling deposit-feeder Casco bigelowi (Melitidae). Juvenile D. monacanthus remained on the mud whip of their mother for time periods of 10-20 days, maximally 27 days. Many juveniles left their mother before a second clutch was released onto her mud whip, indicating that factors other than the appearance of a second clutch limit the duration of care for the first clutch of juveniles. Juvenile L. pinguis left the burrow of their mother in distinct batches, usually after a molting event. Some juveniles remained in the burrow of their mother for 40-60 days. Juvenile C. bigelowi commonly remained in the burrow of their mother for >80 days, and departed over a period that lasted 20-40 days until all juveniles had left. A literature review revealed that in many epibenthic peracarids with extended parental care, juveniles usually remain with their mothers for about 3 weeks. Females of species that carry their offspring during parental care usually do not produce a second brood while carrying one brood, whereas females that do not carry but guard their offspring often produce a second brood while caring for the first brood. Duration of extended parental care is much more variable in tube-/burrow-dwelling species, lasting from minutes in some species up to 3 months in others. It is concluded that tube-/burrow-dwelling species have a higher potential for long-lasting (>>20 days) extended parental care than epibenthic species. Ecological constraints, such as availability of space and food, predation, disturbance, and competition, are discussed as factors limiting the duration of extended parental care. It is hypothesized that the potential for extended parental care is high in marine peracarids, but advanced social behavior is restricted to species that are living in dwellings of biotic origin.

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