Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

Larval development and first crab of Mithraculus sculptus (Decapoda: Brachyura: Majoidea: Mithracidae) described from laboratory-reared material

Andrew L.  Rhyne a1a2c1, Yoshihisa  Fujita a3 and Ricardo  Calado a4a5
a1 Department of Biological Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901, USA.
a2 Vero Beach Marine Laboratory, Florida Institute of Technology, 805 46th Place East, Vero Beach, FL 32963, USA
a3 University Education Center, University of the Ryukyus, 1 Senbaru, Nishihara-cho, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
a4 CCMAR, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8000-117 Faro, Portugal
a5 Templo Aquático, Rua de Santa Marta 27K, 1150-291 Lisboa, Portugal

Article author query
rhyne al   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
fujita y   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
calado r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The present work describes the complete larval development of Mithraculus sculptus (two zoeal stages, the megalopa) and the first crab instar from laboratory cultured material. The larval morphology is compared with other descriptions currently available for the MithraxMithraculus complex: Mithraculus coryphe, M. forceps, Mithrax hispidus, M. pleuracanthus, M. spinosissimus and M. verrucosus. Although the different species of the MithraxMithraculus complex display uniform morphological characters, the first zoeal stage of M. sculptus differs from other species in the setal meristics of the carapace and the number of aesthetascs of the antennule. The second zoeal stage differs in the number of aesthetascs of the antennule and the number of setae in the distal margin of the coxal endite of the maxillule. The megalopa of M. sculptus can be distinguished by the presence of 3–4 aesthetascs and a simple seta in the distal segment of the antennule. The morphological differences between the larvae from the genus Mithrax and Mithraculus are insufficient to support the separation of the two genera using adult morphology. Future studies should address in detail setal meristics.

(Published Online August 25 2006)
(Received December 14 2005)
(Accepted August 12 2006)

c1 e-mail:;