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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT A 51-day laboratory study was conducted to examine the effects of coded microwire tags (CWTs) injected into the basal muscle of the fifth pereiopod in 27 juvenile blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus (initial carapace width 20.8-39.3 mm). Thirty untagged crabs (initial carapace width 18.2-27.6 mm) served as a control. Mortality in tagged individuals (11%) did not differ significantly from that of controls (3%). Tag retention was 88% for crabs that molted at least once. All tagged crabs that molted twice and retained a tag through the first molt did so through the second molt as well. No significant difference was observed in growth increment per molt as indicated by an absolute and per cent increase in carapace width. However, a difference in growth rate as indicated by the lower number of tagged crabs that molted twice during the experiment was inferred from the data. The advantages and disadvantages of CWTs for marking juvenile blue crabs are discussed.


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