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I examined spatio-temporal features and environmental controls of reproduction and molting in the western Atlantic spiny lobster, Panulirus argus. / Laboratory-held lobsters exhibited nocturnal rhythmicity through the molt cycle, though daily form varied as a function of activity level and molt stage. Foraging and walking peaked in the early evening; all activity ceased at or before sunrise. Ecdysis was predominantly nocturnal. / Locomotor activity and feeding rates were not equivalent through the molt cycle, though both peaked in postecdysis and early metecdysis. Locomotor activity remained high in metecdysis, decreased sharply through proecdysis, then increased near ecdysis. Activity was low during ecdysis, though lobsters were capable of intense and coordinated activity. Feeding decreased through metecdysis, increasing temporarily near proecdysis. Food intake thereafter declined rapidly and ceased in late proecdysis. Feeding resumed in postecdysis, intensifying rapidly to a maximum in late postecdysis or early metecdysis. / The frequency of agonistic interactions (not aggression per se) remained relatively constant through the cycle, peaking in metecdysis. Lobsters near ecdysis were submissive and avoided physical contact with conspecifics. / Mating in nature was initiated by large males moving about in the open during daytime. A male drew a female into sternum to sternum contact using his elongate second walking legs, eventually positioning himself upside down below the embraced female. The male vigorously contracted his abdomen during ejaculation of the spermatophore. Copulation lasted less than one minute. Females participated in courtship; prolonged pair formation was not evident. / I monitored aggression, courtship and physiological condition of lobsters collected prior to the reproductive season, and placed in semi-natural tanks with winter and summer combinations of photoperiod and temperature. Photoperiod and temperature did not alter aggression levels significantly. Long daylength stimulated courtship and gonadal development significantly more than short daylength, regardless of temperature. Warm temperatures increased the daily occurrence of courtship, and speeded breeding and molting cycles. / Large males typically initiated mating in laboratory tanks, whereas unmated females generally initiated mating only when they neared spawning. Courtship peaked near crepuscular periods, but with substantial diurnal and nocturnal incidence, contrasting the predominantly nocturnal feeding and locomotor activity. / Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 45-11, Section: B, page: 3443. / Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Florida State University, 1984.
ContributorsLIPCIUS, ROMUALD NELSON., Florida State University
Source SetsFlorida State University
Detected LanguageEnglish
Format157 p.
RightsOn campus use only.
RelationDissertation Abstracts International

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