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Moulting of the semi-terrestrial crab Chiromantes haematocheir (De Haan, 1833) (Decapoda, Sesarmidae) in Taiwan

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Population structure and moulting of the semi-terrestrial crab Chiromantes haematocheir (De Haan, 1833) were studied in Taiwan. The crab moults nocturnally in small freshwater pools, and newly moulted crabs and cast integuments were used to assess moult increment. Males reached a larger size (max. CW 36 mm, n=272) than females (max. CW 33 mm, n=164): from 22 mm CW males increasingly dominated the population. Size at maturity was estimated at 17.5 mm CW.The percentage moult increment averaged 11.5% in males (5.5-19%, n=153) and 13.9% in females (7-23%, n=72). Female increment exceeded male increment for all overlapping size classes. The larger size of mature males, despite a smaller percentage increment, is explained by a higher post-puberty moult frequency. Of the moulting crabs, 25% of males and 38% of females had one or more missing or regenerating peraeopods. In both sexes this reduced the percentage increment, more so the larger number of limbs affected. The moulting conditions for C. haematocheir are not ideal, with constraints in relation to calcium supplies, and shelter. So the moult increments are unsurprisingly less than those of shallow water marine crabs moulting in an optimal environment, but larger than those of land crabs moulting without access to standing water.

Affiliations: 1: 1No. 53 Chenggong 11th St., Jhubei City, Hsinchu County, Taiwan 302 ; 2: 2Research Centre for Biodiversity, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei 115, Taiwan ; 3: 3School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, U.K.

4Corresponding author; e-mail:

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