Reproduction and development in Halocaridina rubra Holthuis, 1963 (Crustacea: Atyidae) clarifies larval ecology in the Hawaiian anchialine ecosystem
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Larvae in aquatic habitats often develop in environments different from those they inhabit as adults. Shrimp in the Atyidae exemplify this trend, as larvae of many species require salt or brackish water for development, while adults are freshwater-adapted. An exception within the Atyidae family is the "anchialine clade," which are euryhaline as adults and endemic to habitats with subterranean fresh and marine water influences. Although the Hawaiian anchialine atyid Halocaridina rubra is a strong osmoregulator, its larvae have never been observed in nature. Moreover, larval development in anchialine species is poorly studied. Here, reproductive trends in laboratory colonies over a 5-y period are presented from seven genetic lineages and one mixed population of H. rubra; larval survivorship under varying salinities is also discussed. The presence and number of larvae differed significantly among lineages, with the mixed population being the most prolific. Statistical differences in reproduction attributable to seasonality also were identified. Larval survivorship was lowest (12% settlement rate) at a salinity approaching fresh water and significantly higher in brackish and seawater (88% and 72%, respectively). Correlated with this finding, identifiable gills capable of ion transport did not develop until metamorphosis into juveniles. Thus, early life stages of H. rubra are apparently excluded from surface waters, which are characterized by lower and fluctuating salinities. Instead, these stages are restricted to the subterranean (where there is higher and more stable salinity) portion of Hawaii's anchialine habitats due to their inability to tolerate low salinities. Taken together, these data contribute to the understudied area of larval ecology in the anchialine ecosystem.