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Comparative Investigations On the Systematics and Taxonomy of European Maja Species (Decapoda, Brachyura, Majidae)

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The systematic validity of the differentiation between the two European spider crabs Maja crispata Risso, 1827 and Maja squinado (Herbst, 1788) is clarified. The intra- and interspecific variability of morphological characters is examined in juvenile and adult specimens and the results are discussed. Due to ontogenetic changes there is neither a single, constant morphological character nor a constant character combination which allows a complete separation of all postlarval stages of the two species. The best diagnostic characters are the median dorsal carapace spine row combined with a spine located at the basal antennal joint. Multivariate analyses of morphometric characters offered for the first time appropiate quantitative methods for a complete separation of adults and an almost complete separation of juveniles of the two species which have not been available previously.


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Affiliations: 1: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Crustaceen-Sektion, Senckenberganlage 25, D-60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany


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