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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The reproductive biology of Panulirus guttatus from northern Quintana Roo, Mexico, was studied as part of a large research program on the biology and ecology of this poorly studied species. Lobsters were caught with baited traps deployed on the coral reef throughout 17 months (May 1988-September 1989). A total of 870 lobsters (558 males and 312 females) were obtained. The strongly biased sex ratio may have been an artifact of the sampling method, but differential movements of males and females related to reproductive activity were not excluded as possible causes. Ovigerous females (40% of total females, i.e., 125) occurred throughout the year, but were more prevalent during the spring of 1988, and the spring and summer of 1989. The size range of ovigerous females was 40.0-73.5 mm in carapace length (CL). Brood size was determined for the 125 ovigerous females plus an additional 41 sampled during 1987. After excluding the data of females with eggs about to hatch (of smaller sizes than eggs in previous stages), seasonal log brood size-log CL relationships were examined. No significant differences were found either seasonally or interannually, indicating that the average brood size of females of equal CL remained fairly similar throughout the study period. Females between 55 and 65 mm CL had the highest indices of reproductive potential, and accounted for 54% of the total egg production of the population. These results were compared with others obtained from populations of P. guttatus in Florida and other parts of the Caribbean.


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