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Reproductive ecology and size of sexual maturity in the anomuran crab Aegla parana (Decapoda: Aeglidae)

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In Southern Brazil, Aegla parana Schmitt, 1942 is characterized by a broad distribution throughout the Iguaçu River basin, particularly between the southern state of Paraná and the northern state of Santa Catarina, preferentially inhabiting streams with rocky substrates. Although there has been an increase in the number of studies about the population biology of Aeglidae, many aspects about the reproductive biology of A. parana are still unknown. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the size at sexual maturity, reproductive seasonality and recruitment of A. parana from November, 2008 to December, 2009, in a tributary of the Iguaçu River located in União da Vitória, Paraná, Brazil. Basic environmental factors were investigated to determine their influence on the reproductive cycle of this species. Gonadal stages were characterized macroscopically, and the presence or absence of embryos in females (ovigerous females) from monthly samples was recorded. The entire sample was composed of 436 males and 211 females. Although the smallest ovigerous female was 16.2 mm, the average size (carapace length, CL) at sexual maturity (CL50%) was calculated at 17.4 mm. The greatest percentage of females with developed (mature, near spawning) gonads stage was observed from January to June, 2009, while ovigerous females were recorded from April to July, 2009, after which the reproductive period ended. Recruitment occurred from October to December, 2009. The presence of ovigerous females was negatively correlated with temperature (Spearman, p < 0 . 05 ). Females carrying embryos were generally collected during periods of lower temperatures, whereas recruits entered the population during periods of higher temperatures, when food for them is more abundant in the region studied.

Affiliations: 1: 1Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de Biociências, C.P. 510, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Distrito de Rubião Junior, s/n, 18618-000 Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil; 2: 2Laboratório de Carcinologia, Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Avenida Roraima 1000, Bairro Camobi, 97105-900 Santa Maria, RS, Brazil


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