Supratidal land crabs synchronizing the release of larvae with the lunar and diurnal cycles

We studied the breeding migration and larval release of two supratidal land crabs, Cardisoma carnifex and Epigrapsus notatus, in the mixed semidiurnal tidal regime. The habitats of these crabs lack cues associated with high tide and lunar-related variation in tidal amplitude. The primary finding indicates that both species were able to synchronize the release of their larvae with the lunar and diurnal cycles. It is worth mentioning that unlike most intertidal crabs, these two crabs did not primarily release larvae during larger amplitude nocturnal tides or immediately following high tide. Consequently, it appears that these crabs rely on the lunar and diurnal cycles of light as cues to time the release of their larvae.

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