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Reproductive biology of two species of squat lobsters – female receptivity and interbrood intervals

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The reproductive biology of many species of anomuran crabs is only poorly known. Herein we studied the reproductive biology of two species of squat lobsters, Cervimunida johni Porter, 1903 and Pleuroncodes monodon (H. Milne Edwards, 1837), which are target of a trawl fishery operating on the continental margin along the Chilean coast. During the reproductive period (May-November) we maintained squat lobsters in the laboratory to examine whether mating is related to the reproductive molt of the female and to determine the interbrood interval between successive broods. In both species females mated during the intermolt period. Females became receptive shortly after having released larvae from a previous brood, when they formed pairs with males. The interbrood interval (from larval release until having a subsequent brood) lasted <72 hour in the majority of female C. johni, but was longer in P. monodon, where most females took 72-144 hours before producing a new brood. Despite longer interbrood intervals, copulatory mate-guarding was substantially shorter in P. monodon than in C. johni. These differences in reproductive behavior might be due to differences in the general biology of the two species, including mobility and intraspecific aggression. Mating during the intermolt period may have several advantages, namely reducing the risk of cannibalism and energy costs of molting during the reproductive season.

Affiliations: 1: 1Facultad Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte, Larrondo 1281, Coquimbo, Chile


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