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Lipofuscin Quantification as a Potential Tool for Age Estimation in Snow Crabs,Chionoecetes opilio (O. Fabricius, 1788) (Decapoda, Oregoniidae)

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Lipofuscin levels were investigated in snow crabs (Chionoecetes opilio) to assess the applicability of lipofuscin quantification as an age determining tool for this species. Localization and quantification of lipofuscin granules in the olfactory lobe cell mass (OLCM) of the brain were conducted by confocal microscopy and image analysis. The majority of immature crabs had no detectable lipofuscin. Crabs with a dirty carapace condition (an indication of greater age) had more lipofuscin (in terms of granule density, area fraction, and mean granule size) than crabs with a clean carapace condition; however, the amount of lipofuscin was much lower than that in more temperate species. Lipofuscin content was positively correlated with carapace size among crabs with a clean carapace but not among crabs with a dirty carapace. No correlation was observed between average lipofuscin granule fluorescent intensity and carapace width. OLCM neuron characteristics were also investigated. An inverse relationship was observed between neuron density and carapace width although it is unknown if this density reduction is due to a loss of neurons, an increase in size of the structures, or both. Furthermore, a positive relationship was observed between neuron size and carapace width. The range of neuron size also increased in larger crabs, suggesting the presence of mitotically active cells in the OLCM. Although lipofuscin levels were higher in dirty carapace condition (presumably older) crabs than in clean carapace crabs and increased with size (in mature, clean carapace snow crabs), the lack of detectable lipofuscin in most immature crabs, generally low levels of lipofuscin in mature crabs, and lack of increase with size in older (dirty carapace) crabs limits the applicability of this age estimation tool for this species.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156854011x605729
2011-12-01
2015-08-03

Affiliations: 1: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Gulf Region, Science Branch, Gulf Fisheries Centre, 343 Université Avenue, Moncton, New Brunswick, E1C 5K4, Canada; Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, 10 Bailey Drive, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 5A3, Canada; Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the Canadian Rivers Institute, University of New Brunswick, 10 Bailey Drive, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 5A3, Canada; 2: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Gulf Region, Science Branch, Gulf Fisheries Centre, 343 Université Avenue, Moncton, New Brunswick, E1C 5K4, Canada; 3: Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, 10 Bailey Drive, Fredericton, New Brunswick, E3B 5A3, Canada

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