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Relative growth and sexual maturity of the spider crab, Mithrax tortugae Rathbun, 1920 (Brachyura, Mithracidae) on a continental island off the southeastern Brazilian coast

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Relative growth can be understood as a morphometric relationship of body parts with the body as a whole, described by a mathematic equation. This study provides information on the patterns of relative growth of Mithrax tortugae from Vitória Island, southeastern Brazilian coast (23°44′04″S 45°01′35″W). Crabs were obtained from monthly collections by hand during SCUBA diving, between January 2004 and February 2007. A total of 168 crabs was obtained, 64 males and 104 females. Regression analysis was performed among carapace width (CW), as the independent variable, and carapace length (CL), abdomen width (AW), height high and length of the propodus (PH and PL), and gonopod length (GL) as dependent variables, using the power function y = ax b. Young males showed positive allometry with regard to gonopod growth. Abdomen growth of juvenile females was also positively allometric. The growth patterns recorded for M. tortugae are associated with the species reproductive strategy, i.e., preparation of body parts involved in gamete transfer and egg clutch storage, like the male gonopods and the female abdomen. According to the results obtained, morphological maturity is attained at 12.95 mm CW for males and at 22.40 mm CW for females. The general patterns shown by M. tortugae are similar to the model adopted for Brachyura in general. Crescimento relativo pode ser entendido como a análise das relações entre dimensões de partes do corpo em função do corpo como um todo, descrita por uma equação matemática. Este estudo fornece informações sobre os padrões de crescimento relativo do Mithrax tortugae, de uma população da Ilha da Vitória, sudeste do litoral brasileiro (23°44′04″S 45°01′35″W). Os caranguejos foram obtidos manualmente, a partir de coletas mensais, por meio de mergulho autônomo, entre janeiro de 2004 e fevereiro de 2007. Um total de 168 caranguejos foi obtido, 64 machos e 104 fêmeas. Foram executadas regressões entre a largura da carapaça (LC), variável independente e o comprimento da carapaça (CC), largura do abdômen (LA) e altura e comprimento do própodo quelar (APQ e CPQ), como variáveis dependentes, aplicando a função potência y = ax b. Os machos jovens apresentaram alometria positiva para o crescimento do gonopódio. Enquanto que para nas fêmeas jovens foi registrado um padrão alométrico positivo para o crescimento do abdômen. Os padrões de crescimento registrados para M. tortugae estão associados com a estratégia reprodutiva da espécie, ou seja, a preparação das partes do corpo envolvidas com a transferência de gametas e a incubação dos ovos, como os gonopódios para os machos e o abdômen para as fêmeas. De acordo com os resultados obtidos, a maturidade morfológica é atingida em 12,95 mm LC para os machos e em 22,40 mm LC para as fêmeas. Os padrões gerais demonstrados por M. tortugae seguem o modelo geral descrito para os Brachyura.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratório de Biologia Marinha – LabBMar, Instituto Básico de Biociências – IBB, Universidade de Taubaté – UNITAU, Av. Tiradentes, 500, Taubaté, CEP 12.030-180, São Paulo, Brazil; NEBECC Group of Studies on Crustacean Biology, Ecology and Culture

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/content/journals/10.1163/001121609x12481627024490
2009-10-01
2016-12-09

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