Collections of some 22,000 female and 6000 male Crangon vulgaris were made throughout the year from the shrimp fisheries of the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel. All animals were measured.
The habits of the species are described; it can withstand a wide range of temperature but, though euryhaline, resembles other Decapoda in the inability to withstand low salinity combined with low temperature.
Osmo-regulation is apparently largely inhibited at low temperatures and to a greater extent in the males than the females.
Growth rate decreases with increasing age; in the female there is no increase in length when moulting from the ' neuter' to the egg-carrying intermoult. The duration of this intermoult, if spawning is successful, is about double that of the normal intermoult under the same temperature conditions. Growth almost ceases in the winter.
Secondary sexual characters are described, especially the differences between the endopodites of the pleopods in the two sexes.
Females become mature at a minimum length of 45 mm. in the Channel and seldom less than 50 mm. in the Estuary. The effect of the female sexual cycle on the size of the ovary and the form of the pleopods is described. The process of copulation is described; it can occur in the brackish waters of the estuary. Egg-laying always follows within two days of moulting into the egg-carrying condition but eggs are not retained if copulation has not occurred.
The females lie on their sides during the act of spawning and the eggs are firmly attached within thirty minutes to the egg-carrying setae on the basipodites of the first to fourth pair of pleopods, then to those on the endopodite of the first pleopod, finally to those on the coxopodites of the last two pairs of pereiopods.
Recent studies of hydrozoans suggest that metabolic factors associated with the physiology of gastrovascular fluid transport play a role in regulating morphogenetic development of colonies. In that context, the objective of this study was to develop a system to experimentally control diets of hydrozoans in culture that could be used to test effects of specific compounds. This diet delivery system consisted of a known concentration of homogenate of brine shrimp nauplii that was solidified in a 1% agar block cut to the size of, and containing the equivalent of, a single, 2-day old brine shrimp nauplius larva. We tested the utility of this system by comparing the frequencies of ingestion, and rates of gastrovascular transport and growth following feeding, between polyps of Podocoryna carnea fed either a single brine shrimp nauplius (controls) or an agar cube including brine shrimp homogenate. Polyps fed experimental diets showed similar rates of gastrovascular transport (6 and 12 h after feeding) and growth (24 h after feeding) to those of polyps fed a brine shrimp nauplius suggesting that no significant artefacts existed associated with these response variables. However, the frequency of ingestion of experimental foods by polyps was much less than that by control polyps. These results imply that this system of delivery of experimental diets has potential as a means to manipulate physiological state and assay the effects on morphogenesis of hydrozoan colonies, but must first overcome limitations of low ingestion frequency.