morphology of larvae is a key factor influencing their behaviour,
performance and ultimately their survival. There is evidence indicating a
significant morphological variability among broods, and that this may
be related to the size or conditions of the mother. However, this
maternal influence is not consistent across decapod crustaceans. Using
35 broods from different mothers of the crab Hemigrapsus takanoi collected in the same locality of inner Tokyo Bay and at the same time,
we tested the hypothesis that there is a positive relationship between
the size of the mother and the progeny’s morphology. Our results
indicate that different patterns in the length of the lateral, rostral
and dorsal spines differentiated two distinct morphogroups of larvae.
These morphogroups were linked to the size of the mother, showing that
larger mothers produced bigger larvae with longer carapace spines. It is
possible that larger size and longer spines can influence swimming
performance and predator avoidance, respectively. These relationships
should be tested in future experimental studies.