Young pass through up to 13 larval stages, then molt to a juvenile (postlarval) form, and then developed into the adult form. The number of larval stages may vary among regions and even among individuals in one region. Forms intermediate between known larval stages are often found.
The eggs form within the ovaries, pass through the oviducts to the genital aperture in the coxae of the sixth thoracic appendages, and then into a brood chamber defined by the carapace, the ventral thorax, and the first pair of pleopods, which can extend forward and over the bottom of the carapace. Although mating details are still not known, fertilization most likely takes place in the brood chamber and the developing eggs are kept there until hatching. Hatchlings are presumably released by the female pulling her first abdominal appendages loose enough to provide a gap through which the young may escape.
The photophores of the eyestalks may be used for signaling and attracting the opposite sex.
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