Origin and occurrence of sexual and mating systems in Crustacea: A progression towards communal living and eusociality
Crustaceans are known for their unrivalled diversity of sexual systems, as well as peculiar mating associations to achieve maximum mating success and fertilization accomplishment. Although sexes are separate in most species, various types of hermaphroditism characterize these predominantly aquatic arthropods. A low operational sex ratio between female and male, together with temporally limited receptivity of females towards males, imposes restrictions on the structuring of mating systems in crustaceans. The basic mating systems consist of monogamy, polygamy, mate guarding and pure searching. Understandably, ecological influences may also play a determinative role in the evolution of such sexual and mating systems in crustaceans. An important outcome of the crustacean sexual biology is the development of complex social structures in many aquatic species, in much the same way insects have established them in terrestrial conditions. In addition, groups like isopods and certain families of brachyuran crabs have shown terrestrial adaptation, exhibiting peculiar reproductive modes, sometimes reminiscent of their terrestrial counterparts, insects. Many caridean shrimps, living in symbiotic relationship with other marine invertebrates in the coral reef habitats, have reached pinnacle of complexity in sexuality and peculiar mating behaviours, resulting in communal living and establishing advanced social systems, such as eusociality.
Volume 44 | Issue 3
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