It's in Her Eyes

Crustaceans go through pubertal molt to provide the animal with features that are distinct to adults. The androgenic gland hormone (AGH) is important for male differentiation and secondary male characteristics. Females lack AGH, so are considered the default sex for development. Previous work has shown that when the eyestalk is ablated in the females of some crab species, mating and maternal care structures show defects; however, the animals are able to molt and develop into giant immature crabs. In studying the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, Zmora et al. now show that the endocrine system and localized activity of a hormone termed crustacean female sex hormone (CFSH) from the eyestalk ganglia are involved in adult-specific development through the control of the pubertal-terminal molt. When CFSH is eliminated, the brooding features, which are important for mating and brooding large clutches, are abnormal. This work shows that the endrocrine system functions via a female-specific hormone for the development of adult morphological structures associated with female reproduction, i.e., for mating and brooding.
Endocrinology 10.1210/en.2013-1603 (2013).
In Science 3 Jan 2014