Scientia Marina, Vol 77, No 2 (2013)

Morphology of the larval stages of a Mediterranean population of the allochthonous Say’s mud crab, Dyspanopeus sayi (Decapoda: Brachyura: Panopeidae)

Elena Marco-Herrero
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (ICMAN), CSIC , Spain

Guillermo Guerao
IRTA, Cultius Aqüàtics , Spain

José A. Cuesta
Instituto de Ciencias Marinas de Andalucía (ICMAN), CSIC , Spain


In this study the complete larval development (including four zoeal stages and a megalopa stage) of Dyspanopeus sayi is described and illustrated in detail based on larvae reared in the laboratory. Ovigerous females were collected in Alfacs Bay, Ebro Delta (NW Mediterranean) where the species was recently introduced. These larval stages were compared with others collected in the plankton from the same area, the larval stages described previously for this species and the larval stages of the two other Panopeidae that inhabit the Iberian Peninsula: Panopeus africanus and Rhithropanopeus harrisii. Differences were found in both zoeal and megalopal larval characters between D. sayi and the other two species, which could raise doubt about their placement in the same family.


Panopeidae; Dyspanopeus sayi; allochthonous species; larval stages; zoea; megalopa

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