The evolution of current terrestrial life was founded by major waves of land invasion coinciding with high atmospheric oxygen content. These waves were followed by periods with substantially reduced oxygen concentration and accompanied by evolution of novel traits. Reproduction and development are limiting factors for evolutionary water-land transitions, and brood care has likely facilitated land invasion. Peracarid crustaceans provide parental care for their offspring by brooding the early stages within the motherly pouch, marsupium. Terrestrial isopod progeny begins ontogenetic development within the marsupium in water, but conclude development within the marsupium in air. Our results for progeny growth until hatching from the marsupium provide evidence for the limiting effects of oxygen concentration and for a potentially adaptive solution. Inclusion of air within the marsupium compensates for initially constrained growth in water through catch-up growth, and it may explain how terrestrial isopods adapted to short- and long-term changes in oxygen concentration.
- Received January 16, 2017.
- Accepted February 19, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd