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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT In Callianassa louisianensis, ovarian development becomes evident in December and continues through the spring. Ovigerous females occur primarily from early June through August, less frequently into September. Recruitment occurs throughout the summer and early fall, and juveniles reach large enough size to be detected in our samples by early spring. First-year females enter the breeding population the following summer; the smallest ovigerous among these have attained a carapace length (CL) of almost 11 mm. Analysis of relative growth suggests that females enter a maturation growth phase at about 11 mm CL, while males enter a maturation phase at near 15.5 mm CL. In males, this transition is marked by a strong increase in the relative growth of the major chela, together with a change in shape of the chela. In females, there is a decrease in the relative growth of the major chela after maturation. Carapace lengths in females do not attain the size of those in the largest males. In the maturation phase, female growth appears directed toward lengthening of the abdomen and development of ovaries, while in males it is directed toward development of the major chela, a secondary sexual structure that may be utilized in aggressive encounters.


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