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Gregarious behaviour of juveniles of the spiny lobster, panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804) in artificial shelters

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[The gregarious behaviour of juveniles (16-45 mm CL) of the spiny lobster, Panulirus argus in artificial shelters (concrete blocks), was studied in a nursery area in the southwestern region of Cuba. The average size of the juveniles was significantly different (df = 3; F = 796.60; P < 0.001) among the periods analysed (1982-1984, average = 45.90 mm CL; 1986-1988, average = 36.82 mm CL; 1989-1991, average = 37.33 mm CL; and 1992-1994, average = 39.46 mm CL) but it was not between sexes (df = 1; F = 0.3640 ns; P = 0.55). The proportion of males and females did not differ significantly from 1 : 1 in sizes between 20 and 50 mm (CL). The sexes could be distinguished at a size of 16-20 mm (CL) and this was also the size-class that emerged from settlement places and adopted gregarious behaviour. As the source of immigrants to the nursery area was from the south, the southern shelters, located approximately 17 km from the barrier reef, were the first to be colonized. The highly significant relationship between the abundance of juveniles and pre-recruits (N = 13, R2 = 0.8314, P < 0.001), suggests that the variations in abundance of the recruitment observed are displayed in all nursery areas. The high densities of lobster juveniles in nursery areas, their gregarious behaviour, their territorial migratory habits, and the evident decrease of recruitment to nursery areas in the Gulf of Batabanó from 1988 onwards, suggest that introduction of artificial shelters might help diminish natural mortality of post-pueruli and juveniles in these phases and increase recruitment to fishing areas. El comportamiento gregario de los juveniles (16-45 mm LC) de langosta espinosa Panulirus argus en refugios artificiales (bloques de concreto), fueron estudiados en un área de cría de la región suroccidental de Cuba. La talla media de los juveniles fue significativamente diferente (gl = 3; F = 796,60; P < 0,001) entre los períodos analizados (1982-1984, media = 45,90 mm; 1986-1988, media = 36,82 mm; 1989-1991, media = 37,33 mm; y 1992-1994, media = 39,46 mm, LC) pero entre sexos no lo fue (df = 1; F = 0,3640 ns; P = 0,55). Las proporciones entre machos y hembras no difieren significativamente de 1 : 1 entre las tallas 20-50 mm (LC). Entre 16 y 20 mm (LC) se pudieron diferenciar los sexos y a partir de este intervalo se consideró que las langostas emergen desde los sitios de asentamiento y comienzan a tener un comportamiento gregario. Como la fuente de los inmigrantes al área de cría fue desde el sur, los refugios del sur, localizados aproximadamente a 17 km de la barrera arrecifal, fueron los primeros que se colonizaban. La relación significativa entre al abundancia de los juveniles y los pre-reclutas (N = 13, R2 = 0,8314, P < 0,001), sugiere que las variaciones de la abundancia de los reclutamientos observados se extienden en todas las áreas de cría. La elevada densidad de juveniles, su comportamiento gregario, sus hábitos migratorios territoriales y el evidente decrecimiento del reclutamiento en el Golfo de Batabanó desde 1988, sugieren la introducción de refugios artificiales con el objetivo de disminuir la mortalidad natural de post-puérulos y juveniles e incrementar el reclutamiento al área de pesca., The gregarious behaviour of juveniles (16-45 mm CL) of the spiny lobster, Panulirus argus in artificial shelters (concrete blocks), was studied in a nursery area in the southwestern region of Cuba. The average size of the juveniles was significantly different (df = 3; F = 796.60; P < 0.001) among the periods analysed (1982-1984, average = 45.90 mm CL; 1986-1988, average = 36.82 mm CL; 1989-1991, average = 37.33 mm CL; and 1992-1994, average = 39.46 mm CL) but it was not between sexes (df = 1; F = 0.3640 ns; P = 0.55). The proportion of males and females did not differ significantly from 1 : 1 in sizes between 20 and 50 mm (CL). The sexes could be distinguished at a size of 16-20 mm (CL) and this was also the size-class that emerged from settlement places and adopted gregarious behaviour. As the source of immigrants to the nursery area was from the south, the southern shelters, located approximately 17 km from the barrier reef, were the first to be colonized. The highly significant relationship between the abundance of juveniles and pre-recruits (N = 13, R2 = 0.8314, P < 0.001), suggests that the variations in abundance of the recruitment observed are displayed in all nursery areas. The high densities of lobster juveniles in nursery areas, their gregarious behaviour, their territorial migratory habits, and the evident decrease of recruitment to nursery areas in the Gulf of Batabanó from 1988 onwards, suggest that introduction of artificial shelters might help diminish natural mortality of post-pueruli and juveniles in these phases and increase recruitment to fishing areas. El comportamiento gregario de los juveniles (16-45 mm LC) de langosta espinosa Panulirus argus en refugios artificiales (bloques de concreto), fueron estudiados en un área de cría de la región suroccidental de Cuba. La talla media de los juveniles fue significativamente diferente (gl = 3; F = 796,60; P < 0,001) entre los períodos analizados (1982-1984, media = 45,90 mm; 1986-1988, media = 36,82 mm; 1989-1991, media = 37,33 mm; y 1992-1994, media = 39,46 mm, LC) pero entre sexos no lo fue (df = 1; F = 0,3640 ns; P = 0,55). Las proporciones entre machos y hembras no difieren significativamente de 1 : 1 entre las tallas 20-50 mm (LC). Entre 16 y 20 mm (LC) se pudieron diferenciar los sexos y a partir de este intervalo se consideró que las langostas emergen desde los sitios de asentamiento y comienzan a tener un comportamiento gregario. Como la fuente de los inmigrantes al área de cría fue desde el sur, los refugios del sur, localizados aproximadamente a 17 km de la barrera arrecifal, fueron los primeros que se colonizaban. La relación significativa entre al abundancia de los juveniles y los pre-reclutas (N = 13, R2 = 0,8314, P < 0,001), sugiere que las variaciones de la abundancia de los reclutamientos observados se extienden en todas las áreas de cría. La elevada densidad de juveniles, su comportamiento gregario, sus hábitos migratorios territoriales y el evidente decrecimiento del reclutamiento en el Golfo de Batabanó desde 1988, sugieren la introducción de refugios artificiales con el objetivo de disminuir la mortalidad natural de post-puérulos y juveniles e incrementar el reclutamiento al área de pesca.]

Affiliations: 1: Centro de Investigaciones Marinas, Universidad de la Habana, Calle 16 #114 entre 1era y 3era, Playa, Miramar, Cuba; 2: Ampelos Latinamerica S.A., Centro de Negocios Miramar, 5ta Ave, Esquina 78, Edificio Santa Clara, Oficina 507, Ciudad Habana, Cuba

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