The reproductive biology of some serolid isopods from the Antarctic

Several species of serolid isopod from Signy Island, South Orkney Islands and also from South Georgia were studied, and aspects of their reproductive behaviour and associated morphology are discussed. InSerolis polita Pfeffer egg-laying took place at a mean age of 28 months, and the eggs were then incubated in a ventral marsupium for a period of 20 months before the release of juveniles in the spring. The mean egg dry weight at spawning was 0.68 mg forS. polita and 3.35 mg forSerolis cornuta Studer. The egg weight increased during marsupial development due to the uptake of minerals, but the total calorific content fell. Within each species brood size was linearly related to female size and the mean number of eggs varied from 40 forS. polita to 232 forSerolis pagenstecheri Pfeffer. There was no detectable marsupial mortality.S. polita appeared to breed repeatedly at two-year intervals, butS. cornuta probably only breeds once. The reproductive biology of Antarctic serolids is compared with that of temperate isopods, and it is shown that they produce larger young which is related to their larger adult size. The extremely protracted period of marsupial incubation is associated with the need to synchronize reproduction with the seasonal nature of Antarctic primary production.


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Authors: Luxmoore, R.A.

1 January, 1982
Polar Biology / 1
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