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POPULATION ECOLOGY OF THE SAND-DWELLING HERMIT CRAB DIOGENES NITIDIMANUS TERAO. 5. ECOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS IN THE PATTERN OF MOLTING

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ABSTRACT Patterns of molting of the hermit crab Diogenes nitidimanus were observed in the laboratory. Data were obtained for 5-day periods after the time of the collection throughout the course of 1 year. The frequency of molting exhibited a bimodal pattern with 1 peak in spring and another in fall, though there was a slight difference between sexes. In both sexes, molting occurred more often in the reproductive season than in the nonreproductive season. Females molted more often than males during the reproductive season. Growth increments became smaller as the size of the crabs increased; this reduction was more marked in females. Females often did not increase or even became smaller at molting, in particular during the reproductive season. Such cases were very rare in males. Shell-size adequacy was assessed for molted crabs by comparing the size of shells actually used by the crabs with those chosen by crabs from shell sets with a wide size range. Females occupied shells smaller than those preferred, whereas males had optimum-sized shells. Zero or negative growth in females may result from the effects of utilizing smaller shells as well as higher energy requirement for ovaries than testes. The growth mode of this species was considered to be indeterminate, with egg laying during some instars, and one or more layings per instar.

10.1163/193724092X00021
/content/journals/10.1163/193724092x00021
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/content/journals/10.1163/193724092x00021
2017-08-23

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