ISSN 1063-0740, Russian Journal of Marine Biology, 2008, Vol. 34, No. 2, pp. 77–93. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2008.
Original Russian Text © E.S. Kornienko, O.M. Korn, S.D. Kashenko, 2008, published in Biologiya Morya.
(De Haan, 1835),
(De Haan, 1835), and
Haan, 1835) are common coastal crabs inhabiting the
northwestern part of the Sea of Japan. Another species,
(Miers, 1879), occurs more rarely. All
these species belong to the superfamily Grapsoidea
MacLeay, 1838, family Varunidae Milne Edwards,
1853 . Another two varunid species,
(De Haan, 1833) and
1835), occur in Peter the Great Bay according to Vino-
gradov (1950) , but they are not found in Vostok Bay,
where this study was made.
occurs in estuaries from Hong Kong
and Taiwan to Amursky ﬁrth and northeastern Sakhalin.
is spread from Peter the Great Bay, Mon-
eron Island and Aniva Bay, along the Japan Islands up
to Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand and are found on
sandy-rock and silt bottom, from intertidal to 10 m
is known from Tatar Strait, Mon-
eron Island, South Kuril Islands and Aniva Bay along
Japan Islands up to Taiwan and Hong Kong and is
found on sandy-rock and silt bottom, from intertidal to
5 m depth.
occurs from Peter the Great
Bay to Shandong Peninsula and from Tsugaru Strait to
Nagasaki and is found at a depth of 3–16 m [1, 2, 7].
The larval development of
studied in Japan, Korea and China [8, 16, 20, 22],
in Japan and Korea [8, 14],
in Korea , and
in Japan and Korea
[23, 25]. Earlier description of
 seems to be referred to another species, because
the illustrated zoea lacks lateral spines on the carapace.
Among varunid crabs, only
this character. Adults of both species are very similar,
so an error is quite possible here . In Russian
waters, only the larvae of
are described in
detail at present . In spite of the fact that the consid-
ered species belong to different genera
, their larvae are very similar and found in
the plankton from late June till late September simulta-
neously, so their speciﬁc or even generic identiﬁcation
is very difﬁcult.
The studies of larvae mentioned above were made
by different authors in different regions and times, the
larvae were described in more or less detail. Owing to
this fact, the descriptions of the same species do not
always agree. It is very difﬁcult to use the keys for the
identiﬁcation of zoeal I and megalopal stages published
by Kim and Hwang  and by Park and Ko . The
examination of numerous specimens revealed that the
distinctive features noted by these authors are actually
identical or variable. For example, the only character
differing zoea of
is the presence of small
blunt spines on the dorsal spine of the carapace, which
Comparative Morphology of Larvae of Coastal Crabs
(Crustacea: Decapoda: Varunidae)
E. S. Kornienko, O. M. Korn, and S. D. Kashenko
Institute of Marine Biology, Far East Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Pal’chevskogo 17, Vladivostok, 690041 Russia
Accepted: September 6, 2006
—The larval development of three crabs of the Varunidae family, (
Hemigrapsus sanguineus, H. pen-
), widely spread in Russian waters of the Sea of Japan, were studied under laboratory
conditions. At a temperature of 20–22
C and a salinity of 32‰ about 30% of larvae a complete developmental
cycle, including ﬁve zoeal stages and megalopa, took from 22 to 30 days. All larval stages are illustrated and
described in detail. Zoea I and zoea II of the studied crabs are not distinguishable. Zoea III–V of these species
differ in the number of dorsomedial setae on the abdominal somite I and in the number of setae on the poster-
odorsal arch. The megalopae of three
species possess a different number of segments, aesthetascs
and setae on the antennular exopod. In spite of the great similarity of larvae of genera
, the latter possesses a number of distinctive features in all developmental stages, supporting the separation
of these genera.
: crab, Varunidae,
, megalopa, larvae, development.