Once hatched, the larvae pass through three planktonic stages, two zoeae and one megalopa, lasting approximately nine days (Sandifer & Van Engel 1971). The zoeal stages are characterized by a long dorsal spine and a short rostral spine between the large eyes. These stages measure 2 to 3 mm in total length. Megalopae have lost the dorsal spine, the rostral spine is shortened and the legs are more prominent, creating a total body length of about 2 mm. When a suitable habitat is selected, megalopae swim to the benthos and metamorphose into juvenile crabs.
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