Adaptive specialization and constraint in morphological defenses of planktonic larvae

Samuel Bashevkin, John Christy & Steven Morgan
Morphological defenses of plankton can include armor, spines, and coloration. Spines defend from gape-limited fish predators while pigmentation increases visibility to fishes but defends from ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Planktonic crab larvae (zoeae) exhibit inter- and intra-specific variability in the lengths of defensive spines, extent of pigmentation, and body size. The determinants of this variability and the relationships among these traits are largely unknown. Larvae may employ generalized defenses against the dual threats of UVR and...
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