Wind-borne short-range egg dispersal in anostracans (Crustacea: Branchiopoda)


*Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, K. U. Leuven, Naamsestraat 59, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium. Email:


Evidence is provided for the first time that at least part of the egg bank of the southern African fairy shrimp Branchipodopsis wolfi is dispersed over short distances by wind. A total of 423 sticky surfaces were mounted around and between individual basins at three rock pool sites, to trap any dispersing eggs during a 3 day period. Eight viable eggs were found in different egg traps (1.9% of the total), seven of which were located at one site with shallow basins. Given the proximity of vast egg banks to the egg traps, the low observed dispersal rate cautions against overestimating the importance of wind dispersal for population genetic processes. By generating egg banks to hedge against drought catastrophes, and producing egg types with different potential dispersibility, B. wolfi is a strong bet-hedger which has established a means of escaping temporal and spatial stress. These life history functions enable populations to persist in small desert rock-pools, which are the most extreme of temporary habitats.