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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT A total of 1,046 individuals of the crab Platyxanthus patagonicus were collected in the fishery area near Puerto Rawson, Chubut, Argentina. Fecundity and relative growth were determined using carapace length (CL) as the reference dimension. Ovigerous females (42.7-72.0-mm CL) were sampled in winter, spring, and early summer. Mean (±SE) fecundity (97,900 ± 37,800 eggs) was positively related (r2 = 0.71) to CL. For all the relationships in which relative growth was explored, the FORTRAN program Mature II computer technique (Somerton, 1983) was used to estimate the size at sexual maturity. For both sexes, MATURE II did not detect (P > 0.05) any abrupt change in the rate of relative growth of carapace width (CW) versus CL. The rate of growth of CW was negatively (b < 1) allometric for females and positively (b > 1) allometric for males. Instead, the rate of growth of the major propodus length (PL) was isometric for females and positively allometric for males. For males, possible size at sexual maturity occurs at ~44-mm CL, since the Mature method detected an abrupt change in the rate of relative growth of PL at this size. Relative growth of the sixth abdominal segment width (AW) was positively allometric for females and isometric for males. For females, a change in the rate of relative growth of AW and sixth abdominal segment length (AL) was observed at ~50-mm CL. This result, in conjunction with the fact that the minimum size found for an ovigerous female was 42.7-mm CL, suggests that in females, sexual maturity occurs at 40-50-mm CL. In males, relative growth of AL versus CL was positively allometric up to a size of 44-mm CL; above this size relative growth was isometric.


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