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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The estuarine crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii (Gould) was originally found along the North American Atlantic coast and in 1991 was reported for the first time on the Iberian Peninsula. The larvae of this species were found only in the upper reaches of the Mondego estuary, Portugal, during spring and summer months, from late April to September. Larval density was highest during June. The reproductive season of R. harrisii occurs within the range of the highest water temperature. This study shows a temporal coherence in the larval patterns of occurrence during 2 years of sampling, and indicates that larvae of R. harrisii are more abundant near the surface during night flood tide, but near the bottom during ebb tide. This suggests a net larval landward transport, which results in retention near the area of adult spawning. The aim of this study was to analyze the seasonal and spatial occurrence and tidal abundance of larvae of R. harrisii in the estuary of the Mondego river, Portugal. In addition, patterns of the temporal distribution of the larvae on the geographic range where the crab larvae have been found are briefly reviewed.


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