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Population structure and reproductive biology of the crab Sesarma rectum Randall, 1840 (Brachyura, Sesarmidae) in an impacted tropical mangrove in northeast Brazil

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The population structure and reproductive biology of the semiterrestrial crab Sesarma rectum were studied in an impacted tropical mangrove in northeast Brazil. Crabs were collected monthly during spring low-tide periods from October 2009 through September 2010. A catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) technique was used to sample the crab population, using two-hour sampling periods by two people. A total of 492 crabs was obtained, of which 262 were males, 151 non-ovigerous females, and 79 ovigerous females. Males were significantly larger than females, whether non-ovigerous or ovigerous. There was no significant difference between mean size of the ovigerous and non-ovigerous females. The population showed a unimodal size-frequency distribution, with a normal distribution for males and non-normal for females. The overall sex ratio (1 : 0.87) did not differ significantly from the expected 1 : 1 proportion. Ovigerous females were found during the entire period, except in March and August 2010. The mean number of eggs was 14 975 ± 5689. The highest number of eggs was recorded for the 29 to 31 mm age group. A regression analysis showed that the number of eggs increased linearly with carapace width (<math altimg="15685403_085_02_S04_i0001.jpg"><msup><mrow><mstyle mathvariant="normal"><mi>r</mi></mstyle></mrow><mrow><mn>2</mn></mrow></msup><mo>=</mo><mn>0</mn><mo>.</mo><mn>70</mn></math>) and abdomen width (<math altimg="15685403_085_02_S04_i0002.jpg"><msup><mrow><mstyle mathvariant="normal"><mi>r</mi></mstyle></mrow><mrow><mn>2</mn></mrow></msup><mo>=</mo><mn>0</mn><mo>.</mo><mn>76</mn></math>). Comparisons among populations will help to evaluate the differences among them, as well as to understand the environmental and biological constraints that are shaping them.


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