Methyl farnesoate levels in male spider crabs exhibiting active reproductive behavior Academic Article uri icon


  • The concentration of methyl farnesoate (MF) in the hemolymph and its synthesis by the mandibular organs (MOs) were investigated to determine whether this compound is related to the differences in the size of the reproductive system and the mating behavior among male morphotypes of the spider crab, Libinia emarginata. Large-claw abraded males displayed mating behavior under competitive conditions. They have the largest reproductive systems, their MOs synthesize large amounts of MF in vitro , and the concentration of MF in their hemolymph is high. Small-claw abraded males displayed mating behavior with receptive females only when isolated. These smaller crabs have intermediate-sized reproductive systems, their MOs synthesize the most MF, and they have the highest circulating level of MF relative to their body size. The unabraded males did not display mating behavior; their reproductive systems are smaller; their MO activity is low, as is their circulating level of MF. The strong relationship between MF levels and the intensity of reproductive behavior suggests that MF may be one of the driving forces behind mating behavior in Crustacea.

publication date

  • January 1, 1994