Evidence for protracted and lecithotrophic larval development in the yeti crab Kiwa tyleri from hydrothermal vents of the East Scotia Ridge, Southern Ocean
Sexuality and Early Development in Aquatic Organisms
© The authors 2015. Open Access under Creative Commons by Attribution Licence. Use, distribution and reproduction are unrestricted. Authors and original publication must be credited. Publisher: Inter-Research · www.int-res.com
The deep-sea squat lobster Kiwa tyleri (also known as yeti crab) is the dominant macroinvertebrate inhabiting hydrothermal vents on the northern and southern segments of the East Scotia Ridge in the Southern Ocean. Here, we describe the first zoeal stage of the species—which is morphologically advanced—and provide evidence for its lecithotrophy in development. This morphologically advanced stage at hatching suggests that dispersal potential during early ontogeny may be limited. Adults of K. tyleri typically inhabit a warm-eurythermal, and spatially defined, temperature envelope of vent chimneys. In contrast, ovigerous females with late embryos are found away from these temperatures, off the vent site. This implies that at least part of embryogenesis takes place away from the chemosynthetic environment. Larvae are released into the cold waters of the Southern Ocean that are known to pose physiological limits on the survival of reptant decapods. Larval lecithotrophy may aid long developmental periods under these conditions and facilitate development independent of pronounced seasonality in primary production. It remains uncertain, however, how population connectivity between distant vent sites may be achieved.
We thank the captain and crew of RRS ‘James Cook’ for assistance at sea during expedition JC42. We also thank Alex Rogers (PSO) and all participating scientists on JC42. Special thanks go to the National Environment Research Council (NERC) ROV-team for superbly running ‘Isis’. Thanks also to Shir Akbari for supervising elemental analysis. This research was supported by a NERC Consortium Grant (NE/DO1249X/1; ChEsSo), and a grant from the Total Foundation (Abyss2100) to S.T.
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Vol. 1 (2), pp. 109 - 116