Light-dependent genetic and phenotypic differences in the squat lobster Munida tenuimana (Crustacea: Decapoda) along deep continental margin
Aguzzi, J.; Costa, C.; Ketmaier, V.; Angelini, C.; Antonucci, F.; Menesatti, P.; Company, J. B.
Progress in Oceanography
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The levels of environmental light experienced by organisms during the behavioral activity phase deeply influence the performance of important ecological tasks. As a result, their shape and coloring may experience a light-driven selection process via the day-night rhythmic behavior. In this study, we tested the phenotypic and genetic variability of the western Mediterranean squat lobster (Munida tenuimana). We sampled at depths with different photic conditions and potentially, different burrow emergence rhythms. We performed day-night hauling at different depths, above and below the twilight zone end (i.e., 700 m, 1200 m, 1350 m, and 1500 m), to portray the occurrence of any burrow emergence rhythmicity. Collected animals were screened for shape and size (by geometric morphometry), spectrum and color variation (by photometric analysis), as well as for sequence variation at the mitochondrial DNA gene encoding for the NADH dehydrogenase subunit I. We found that a weak genetic structuring and shape homogeneity occurred together with significant variations in size, with the smaller individuals living at the twilight zone inferior limit and the larger individuals above and below. The infra-red wavelengths of spectral reflectance varied significantly with depth while the blue–green ones were size-dependent and expressed in smaller animals, which has a very small spectral reflectance. The effects of solar and bioluminescence lighting are discussed as depth-dependent evolutionary forces likely influencing the behavioral rhythms and coloring of M. tenuimana.