Some aspects of the taxonomy, behaviour and biology of the freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium australiense Holthuis 1950 (Crustacea : Decapoda : Palaemonidae)

Lui, Lee Chan (1980). Some aspects of the taxonomy, behaviour and biology of the freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium australiense Holthuis 1950 (Crustacea : Decapoda : Palaemonidae) PhD Thesis, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2014.507

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Author Lui, Lee Chan
Thesis Title Some aspects of the taxonomy, behaviour and biology of the freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium australiense Holthuis 1950 (Crustacea : Decapoda : Palaemonidae)
Formatted title
Some aspects of the taxonomy, behaviour and biology of the freshwater prawn, Macrobrachium australiense Holthuis 1950 (Crustacea : Decapoda : Palaemonidae)
School, Centre or Institute School of Biological Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2014.507
Publication date 1980
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor D. R. Fielder
Total pages 216
Language eng
Subjects 060808 Invertebrate Biology
060301 Animal Systematics and Taxonomy
Formatted abstract
1. The taxonomy of the sub-species of Macrobrachium australiense Holthuis 1950 was re-examined. Studies of the meristic characters of the specimens deposited at the Australian Museum, on specimens collected from the Brisbane Valley and on F1 progeny produced in the laboratory lead to the conclusion that Riek's separation of M. australiense into 4 sub-species is not valid.

2. The ethogram of M. australiense has been described and studied in detail in the laboratory.

3. The individual maintenance behaviour of M. australiense has been described under 15 separate headings. It has been established that the prawns spend considerable time cleaning their bodies to prevent excessive fouling of their body surfaces. They are also more active at night than in the daylight hours.

4. M. australiense are positively rheotactic to water currents. This is an innate response. Low water temperature is believed to reverse their response to water current.

5. The mating behaviour of M. australiense is very similar to other Macrobrachium spp. but it differs from Macrobrachium rosenbergii (De Man, 1879) in that the courtship is concentrated during the pre-moult phase and mating takes place immediately after a female moults. Females moulting into mating forms produced a chemical which is attractive to males. Females remain 'attractive' to males for up to 12 hours if the females do not mate. Dominant males are able to mate with successive females by utilizing a system of resource defence polygamy in contrast to the normal female (harem) defence polygamy.

6. Agonistic behaviour is ritualized to a certain degree in M. australiense. During the present study, 14 different postures have been observed and described in agonistic interactions among individuals. The "chelae threat" posture has been identified as the threat posture of M. australiense.

7. M. australiense has been observed to form 3-tier dominance-subordinance hierarchies in both the sexes. In general, size determines the dominance of a prawn in the hierarchy but chelae size is more important in determining dominance status of similar sized prawns. Dominance-subordinance hierarchies are not permanent.

8. Study of moult related injuries and deaths indicates that M. australiense is not cannibalistic. It is believed that the term 'cannibalism' is wrongly applied to most Macrobrachium spp..

9. There is a marked seasonality in the reproductive cycle of M. australiense at Mt. Crosby Weir, Brisbane River. The breeding season begins in late September and extends to March of the following year with 2 major breeding periods in the months of March and September. This is confirmed in the study conducted in a farm dam at Mt. Cotton.

10. The length-fecundity relationship of M. australiense is expressed by the regression equation, Log F = -0,11 + 2,25 Log L, where F = fecundity, and L = carapace length in mm. It is believed that food is an important factor affecting the fecundity of M. australiense in the field.

11. The growth rate of M. australiense in the field is very rapid and study at Mt. Cotton Dam indicates that females reach sexual maturity within 4 to 5 months after hatching. The growth rate of juveniles in the dam was much faster than those maintained in the laboratory. This difference may be the result of a living space effect on growth.

12. Female M. australiense were readily induced to breed in the laboratory. The results of the experiments conducted at a summer temperature of 25 °C indicated that photoperiod and food type do not significantly accelerate the rate of induced breeding. Instead, the response to induced breeding is significantly associated with the seasons; females collected nearer the natural breeding season were more readily induced to breed.

13. Females moulting from non-breeding to breeding form undergo remarkable changes in their setal armature, especially those on the pleopods. These changes are very similar to those recorded for Palaomon squilla (Linnaeus, 1758) (Hoglund, 1943).

14. The ovarian cycle of M. australiense varies between 35 and 39 days. The sequence of growth and maturation of the ova is essentially similar to that reported for other Macrobrachium spp..

15. The larval development of M. australiense was described and compared with other Macrobrachium spp. with abbreviated larval cycles.

16. The larvae of M. australiense survived readily in saline water up to 15 %o at temperatures varying from 20 to 30 °C. The retention of tolerance to saline water in the larval stages is believed to be related to the fact that this species is common in freshwater just above the brackish water zone and many of their larvae are likely to be washed into the brackish water during heavy rains and floods.

17. Inter-moult periods of larvae maintained individually in the laboratory are remarkably constant during the first 6 moults e.g. moulting every 3 to 5 days. As they grew older, the inter-moult duration became longer. The inter-moult duration of male and female juveniles appeared to be similar. Inter-moult duration of adults depended on sex as well as on the reproductive phase of the prawns.

18. In the laboratory, juveniles maintained in groups appeared to grow faster than those maintained individually. Among the juveniles kept in groups, males grew faster than females, and some large females were berried at the end of 28 weeks. Juvenile females kept individually grew slightly larger than their male counterparts. This difference is believed to be an artifact of the experiment.
Keyword Shrimps
Decapoda (Crustacea)
Additional Notes Other Title: Biology of Macrobrachium australiense.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Wed, 26 Nov 2014, 11:01:50 EST by Mary-Anne Marrington on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service