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Allometric Variation and Sexual Maturity in the Obligate Coral Commensal Trapezia Ferr Uginea Latreille (Decapoda, Xanthidae)

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Morphological variation related to size and sexual maturity is examined in the xanthid crab Trapezia ferruginea, an obligate associate of the coral Pocillopora. Morphological variation in males is related primarily to size while in females it is related to both size and sexual maturity. It was not possible to identify a pubertal molt in males but examination of internal anatomy suggests that they become sexually mature at about 6-7 mm carapace length. Females undergo a marked pubertal molt at about 6-7 mm carapace length although females as small as 5.3 mm may undergo a pubertal molt and be ovigerous. The adaptive significance of changes in morphology with increasing size and sexual maturity is discussed.

Affiliations: 1: Florida State University, Department of Biological Sciences, Tallahassee, Florida 32306, U.S.A.


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