Hatching of an estuarine crab, Sesarma haematocheir: From disappearance of the inner (E3) layer to rupture of the egg case

Masayuki Saigusa, Michihiro Terajima

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Hatching of decapod crustaceans is characterized by the sudden rupture of the egg case. This study focused on the following two issues regarding the hatching mechanism of the estuarine terrestrial crab Sesarma haematocheir: (1) dissolution of the egg case, and (2) the site where the egg case breaks. The egg case comprises three layers: the outer two (E1 and E2) layers and the inner (E3) thin layer (0.2 μm in thickness). The outer layers showed no morphological changes upon hatching, but the inner layer (E3) was markedly digested. The digestion of this layer would enable the embryo to absorb ambient water via reverse peristalsis of the intestine, resulting in an increase of the volume. The egg case always ruptured perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the embryo. In addition, breakage of the egg case occurred at the dorsal thorax of the embryo. The three major organs positioned at this area were (1) a sharp projection (dorsal spine), (2) an assemblage of muscles, and (3) a pair of secretory glands, each of which was about 30 μm in diameter. The dorsal projection is soft before hatching, and it is clear that the egg case does not break with the posterior expansion of this projection. The rupture instead appears to be caused by the expansion of the muscles arranged perpendicular to the body axis. In addition, some (unknown) factor might weaken the egg case just before hatching. The secretory glands may be a kind of rosette gland, but the role that this gland plays at hatching is not known. As a duct comes out from the center and enters the dorsal projection, some active substance may be released at the tip of this projection. However, immunochemical studies are not consistent with this substance being an ovigerous hair stripping substance (OHSS). (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-523
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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