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Reproductive aspects of the shrimp Cuapetes americanus (Kingsley, 1878) (Caridea, Palaemonidae) from Bocas del Toro, Panama

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The shrimp Cuapetes americanus is widely distributed in shallow waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, inhabiting sandy and rocky bottoms, macroalgae, seagrass beds, and mangrove roots. As the life cycle and ecology of this species remain poorly known, we investigated some reproductive traits of this species at Bocas del Toro, Panama. We collected and examined 167 individuals (63 males, 58 non-ovigerous females and 46 ovigerous females). Although males numerically dominated the larger size classes, ovigerous females were significantly larger than males and non-ovigerous females. All 46 ovigerous females were used to calculate embryo loss and embryo volume increase. Only females with eggs at an initial developmental stage (n=25) were used to estimate fecundity and reproductive output. A mean of 75.84 ± 40.16 embryos (Ne=32-208) occurred per female, a value near those reported for other species of Pontoniinae. A positive correlation between fecundity and female body size was observed, but it lacked significance. Likewise, a significant correlation between female body size and embryo volume was not detected. Embryo volume increased 35%, and females lost 26% of embryos on average during the incubation period, though significant changes were measurable only during early embryonic development. Mean reproductive output in the analysed reproductive event (0.22 ± 0.11, R=0.02-0.53) suggested a rate of energy investment in reproduction higher than average, as compared to females of most other decapods. A decrease in relative reproductive output was observed with the increase of female size, indicating that larger females were investing proportionally less energy in reproduction than smaller ones, when measured in relation to the body size, but this correlation also lacked significance. We review how these initial insights on reproduction of C. americanus at Bocas del Toro compare to those of other populations in various localities.

Affiliations: 1: 1Laboratory of Bioecology and Crustacean Systematics (LBSC), Department of Biology, Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters at Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP), University of São Paulo (USP), São Paulo, Brazil ; 2: 2Department of Biology, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 410 East St. Mary Boulevard, Billeaud Hall, Room 108, Lafayette, LA 70503, U.S.A.

3Corresponding author; e-mail:

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