Biochemical Composition of the Deep-Sea Red Crab Chaceon quinquedens (Geryonidae): Organic Reserves of Developing Embryos and Adults

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Biological Sciences


Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences


Deep-sea red crabs Chaceon quinquedens (Smith) were collected in traps at depths of 860 and 1043 m in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Ovigerous crabs were maintained in the laboratory and the developing embryos were sampled every 2 wk until hatching. Proximate analysis (lipid, protein, carbohydrate, and ash) of embryos was performed to determine patterns and rates of organic reserve utilization during embryogenesis. Midgut gland, gonads, and clutch (as appropriate) of adult crabs (males, non-ovigerous females and ovigerous females) were analyzed for the same components as the embryos. Red crab embryos exhibited different patterns of yolk deposition and subsequent depletion of yolk components during embryogenesis. There was a range of lipid to protein (L:P) ratios among the different clutches examined, indicating plasticity in the relative proportions of lipid and protein yolk. The energy used for embryogenesis was estimated by converting the amounts of lipid, protein and carbohydrate in the embryos to their caloric equivalents; final values, taken from 9 mo-old embryos whose siblings were hatching as zoeae, were subtracted from the initial values of sibling embryos sampled at the time of collection (2 to 3 mo old). The amount of energy consumed during embryogenesis in the laboratory was relatively constant (0.12 to 0.13 cal egg-1). There was considerable variability among the concentrations of organic reserves in the midgut gland of adult crabs and in the ovaries of females. Variations in midgut gland L:P ratios and ovaries were related to the reproductive status of the females, but there were no trends related to depth of capture.

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Marine Biology





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