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Thread: Vampire Crabs MAY be Parthenogenic!

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    swords's Avatar
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    Vampire Crabs MAY be Parthenogenic!

    I was doing my daily rounds watering and feeding the critters today and I discovered a new batch of baby crabs in a hank housing only a single female Geosesarma sp. Red Vampire Crab!

    Sometime last summer I captured a female vampire crab who had just molted (slower and easy to catch at this time) and put her by herself in a tank with the plan of capturing a male in the main colony and putting him in with her. Well I never caught a male to go with her and yet today I saw about a dozen babies darting around. Now there is a SLIM possibility that she had been mated before I captured her, however two problems with that scenario arise:

    1) Molting generally makes insects and creatures who molt "virgins" again so the males sperm packet should not still be with her.

    2) Even if she had been mated their gestation/egg carrying period is only around 30 days, she has been alone since molting at least 6 months ago.

    The only way I will know for sure is to segregate some babies and raise them to breeding age and see if the females who have never been near a male at maturity will still produce babies. Or simply segregate and raise these babies to maturity and see if they all turn out to be females.
    Last edited by swords; 02-01-2011 at 12:05 PM.

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    Are you sure it's parthenogenesis, as opposed to hermaphroditism? Also, parthenogenetic animals do not necessarily spawn all-female offspring.

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    How neat, hope you have a ton of vampires soon.
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    swords's Avatar
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    I don't know what it sort of reproduction mode it is, this particular species known only as Geosesarma sp. "Red" have only just entered captivity in Germany February of 2010, and here in April or May so it is all new to both hobbyists and science. AFAIK hermaphrodites generally still need two of each other to swap genes and parthenogenesis is entirely asexual reproduction. In stick & leaf insects (phasmids) parthenogenic reproduction creates only female offspring so that is where I am coming from as far as my statement on possible sex determination. It will be many months before I can sex these babies, the first batch from last fall in the community tank are still unsexable and have not yet attained adult coloration but are almost 2 cm in size.

    There are definite male and females of this crab species, the males are 5 cm & territorial with large claws and the females are a bit smaller & flightier with small claws. I have babies in the community tank and babies in a tank with a single pair but this is the first instance of a single female giving birth with no males around for at least 6 months. Infact I had begun to wonder if she herself died and the snails were coming out of the water to eat the food I gave her because I see the crabs so infrequently but today's discovery of babies indicates she's still in there and doing fine despite not having seen her in some time. They dig a burrow network and that's where they spend most of their time.
    Last edited by swords; 02-01-2011 at 03:20 PM.

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    i dont do pots. amphirion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emre View Post
    Are you sure it's parthenogenesis, as opposed to hermaphroditism? Also, parthenogenetic animals do not necessarily spawn all-female offspring.
    @emre: can you give an example? i can only think of all female populations....especially since asexual reproduction = clones.
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    kulamauiman's Avatar
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    All the parthenogenetic insects I am aware of are all female. Males produced only under certain conditions (onset of winter necessitating the production of eggs).

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    Quote Originally Posted by amphirion View Post
    @emre: can you give an example? i can only think of all female populations....especially since asexual reproduction = clones.
    i think some species have the ability as an option but do not rely on it solely for continuation of the species.......i know is shown up once in a captive bred rattlesnake that hadnt been around a male since the day she was born(her litter mates) and gave birth to a litter of female clones years later.....the species has males available in the native populations so it took alot of ppl by complete surprise.....
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    i dont do pots. amphirion's Avatar
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    @rattler: sorry, i should elaborate---in every single example i can think of, regarding parthenogenesis, the offspring are always female. there are never mixed sex offspring.
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