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OBSERVATIONS ON FEEDING, MATURITY, AND FECUNDITY OF CALLINECTES SIMILIS WILLIAMS, 1966, ON THE CENTRAL CONTINENTAL SHELF OFF VERACRUZ, GULF OF MEXICO

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The aim of this study was to contribute to the knowledge of abundance, fecundity, sex maturity, and diet of the crab Callinectes similis, on the central continental shelf off Veracruz, of Mexico. Samples were collected at night on 23-24 April 1996. In all, 2,066 crabs were collected from professional catches of shrimps, 259 of which were C. similis; 126 specimens of this were collected in the sample taken at 06:00 h. C. similis was the second most abundant species crabs collected. The sex ratio showed a predominance of males probably because females are at greater depths. C. similis is called 'dwarf crab' in the area; the reduced size of the species the result of precocious maturity which is an effective reproductive strategy to increase population size. The mean number of eggs per ovigerous female was 277,886 ± 136,270. Gut content revealed several groups of food items in the diet: plant fragments, remains of fish, polychaetes, crustaceans (Farfantepenaeus aztecus and Portunus gibbesii), micromolluscs (Mulinia lateralis detritus. Callinectes similis may influence the distribution and abundance of prey populations.

El proposito de este estudio fue el de contribuir al conocimiento sobre la abundancia, fecundidad, proporcion sexual, madurez y dieta de Callinectes similis, en la plataforma central de Veracruz, Golfo de Mexico. Las muestras fueron colectadas durante la noche entre el 23 y 24 de abril De la captura total, 2,066 cangrejos fueron colectados de capturas comerciales de camarones, los cuales fueron C. similis; 126 de esos cangrejos fueron colectados en el muestreo de las C. similis fue la segunda especie mas abundante de todos los cangrejos colectados. La proporcion sexual presento predominancia de los machos debido probablemente a que las hembras se encuentran a mayores profundidades. C. similis es llamada 'jaiba enana' en el area; el tamaño reducido especie puede ser resultado de la madurez precoz, la cual es una estrategia reproductiva la dieta: fragmentos vegetales, restos de peces, poliquetos, crustaceos (Farfantepenaeus aztecus Portunus gibbesii), micromoluscos (Mulinia lateralis) y detritus. Callinectes similis puede influir la distribucion y abundancia de las poblaciones presa.

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