Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Ecology, adaptation and acclimatisation mechanisms of Bythograeidae Williams, 1980, a unique endemic hydrothermal vent crabs family: current state of knowledge

V. Leignel A D , L. A. Hurtado B and M. Segonzac C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Le Mans Université, Laboratoire Mer Molécule Santé EA2160 FR-CNRS 3473 IUML, F-72085 Le Mans, France.

B Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2258, USA.

C Département Systématique et évolution, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, 57 rue Cuvier, F-75005 Paris, France.

D Corresponding author. Laboratoire Mer Molécules Santé EA2160 FR CNRS 3473 IUML, Université du Maine, Avenue Olivier Messiaen, F-72085 Le Mans, France. Email: vincent.leignel@univ-lemans.fr

Marine and Freshwater Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/MF17007
Submitted: 12 January 2017  Accepted: 9 June 2017   Published online: 22 August 2017

Abstract

Diversified fauna have colonised the deep-sea hydrothermal vents, an environment characterised by high metallic concentrations and sulfide-rich waters. In 1977–79, brachyuran crabs were collected in hydrothermal vents around the Galapagos Rift, allowing description in 1980 of Bythograea thermydron and the new family Bythograeidae (and the superfamily Bythogreoidea). This family has a worldwide distribution and currently includes 13 species classified in 6 genera: Allograea (1 species), Austinograea (3 species), Bythograea (5 species), Cyanagraea (1 species), Gandalfus (2 species) and Segonzacia (1 species). These crabs have distinctive morphological and physiological characteristics, which reflect adaptations to particular deep-sea hydrothermal vent conditions. This review is the first on Bythograeidae, documenting the state of our knowledge regarding their taxonomy, evolution, ecology, morphology and physiology (i.e. osmoregulation, oxygen consumption, sulfide and metal detoxification, temperature tolerance). We also report on recent progress in maintaining bythograeids in an artificial ex situ environment.

Additional keywords: biogeography, evolution, physiology.


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