Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Reproductive biology of three caridean shrimp, Rimicaris exoculata, Chorocaris chacei and Mirocaris fortunata (Caridea: Decapoda), from hydrothermal vents

Eva Ramirez  Llodra a1c1, Paul A.  Tyler a1 and Jonathan T.P.  Copley a1
a1 School of Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, Southampton Oceanography Centre, European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH, UK


The caridean shrimp Rimicaris exoculata, Chorocaris chacei and Mirocaris fortunata, together with bathymodiolid mussels, dominate the vent fauna along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Vent shrimp show the characteristic reproductive patterns of caridean decapods. The gonads are paired organs overlying the digestive gland under the carapace. In the ovaries, the oogonia ([similar]20-30 μm diameter) proliferate in the germinal epithelium at the periphery of the gonad, developing into previtellogenic oocytes. The previtellogenic oocytes grow to 70-100 μm before undergoing vitellogenesis. The maximum size for mature oocytes ranged between 200 and 500 μm depending on the species and the sample. The oocyte size–frequency data show no evidence of synchrony in oogenesis at population level for any of the species studied. Mirocaris fortunata is the only species where gravid females are commonly collected. The brood is carried on the pleopods, and the number of eggs per female ranges from 25 to 503, with a mean egg length of 0.79±0.14 mm. There is a positive correlation between fecundity and body size, characteristic of crustaceans. One ovigerous C. chacei and two R.exoculata have been studied. The former was carrying 2510 eggs and the later 988 small eggs in an early stage of development. The fecundity of M. fortunata, C. chacei and R. exoculata is significantly higher than that of species from the Acanthephyra group collected in the north-east Atlantic.

(Received December 6 1999)
(Accepted January 26 2000)

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