Scientia Marina, Vol 73, No 3 (2009)

Complete larval development of the crab Ilia nucleus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Decapoda: Brachyura: Leucosiidae) reared under laboratory conditions

Cátia Bartilotti
Instituto Nacional de Recursos Biológicos, IPIMAR, Lisboa, Portugal

Juan Ignacio González-Gordillo
CACYTMAR - Universidad de Cádiz, Spain

Antonina Dos Santos
Instituto Nacional de Recursos Biológicos, IPIMAR, Lisboa, Portugal


The complete larval development of the crab Ilia nucleus (Linnaeus, 1758) reared under laboratory conditions was obtained. The four zoeal stages and the megalopa are described and illustrated in detail. The larval features observed in I. nucleus fit into the characteristics of the family proposed by Rice (1980) for the zoeal stages and by Quintana (1986) for the megalopa. The morphological characters of larval stages of I. nucleus are compared with previous descriptions, and with those of other known larvae of Leucosiidae (only for subfamilies Ebaliinae and Leucosiinae). The present work supports the hypothesis that the subfamily Ebaliinae is a heterogeneous group. For the correct identification of a zoeal stage of a leucosiid crab, besides counting the number of setae on maxilliped exopods, the antennule as well as the pereiopods development should be used as additional characters.


Crustacea; Decapoda; zoeal stages; megalopa; larval morphology; laboratory rearing; Ilia nucleus

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