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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Shortening of the rostrum in Aristeus antennatus in the Mediterranean Sea was studied by analyzing the relationship between rostral length and carapace length, taking the following factors into account: sexual maturity, time of year, size at first maturity, molt periods, and secondary sex characters (petasma and thelycum). Males of Aristeus antennatus exhibit marked shortening of the rostrum, which is long in juveniles and extremely short in adults. Shortening of the rostrum in males occurred at a definite time of year, between February and April of the first year of life in which sexual maturity is attained. Rostral shortening is not directly related to maturation. For this reason mature males with long, intermediate, and short rostra may coexist prior to the season of shortening. After the season of rostral shortening, all mature males present short rostra. Small males and females of all sizes display long rostra. Rostral allometry is positive in females over their entire life span. The role of rostral shortening in the general behavioral pattern of this species is discussed.


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