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Sexual maturity, fecundity, and embryo loss in the pontoniine shrimp Cuapetes americanus (Kingsley, 1878) (Decapoda: Palaemonidae) in Bahía de la Ascensión, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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Cuapetes americanus (Kingsley, 1878) is distributed along the Atlantic coast of the Americas, from North Carolina and Bermuda to São Paulo, Brazil and the West Indies. The present goal was to conduct a comparative study of reproductive aspects of C. americanus: size at sexual maturity, fecundity, and embryo loss. Specimens were obtained from Bahía de la Ascensión, Quintana Roo, Mexico in November 2000 (n=345) and November 2001 (n=156). Samples were collected with a marsh net on Thalassia testudinum-meadows. The average size of the specimens was significantly different between the two dates, with larger females in 2001 (2.46 ± 0.47 mm CL) than in 2000 (2.20 ± 0.23 mm CL). The size at which females reached sexual maturity was 2.01 ± 0.24 mm CL in 2000, and 2.39 ± 0.51 mm CL in 2001. The embryos were categorized in three embryonic stages. Average fecundity at the first stage of development was higher in specimens collected in 2001 (74 ± 57) than in 2000 (47 ± 21). On both sampling dates, fecundity increased with female size but also varied among females of the same size group. Embryos were significantly larger in 2000 than in 2001 (0.034 mm3 and 0.028 mm3, respectively). The maximum increase of embryo volume (78.5%) and brood loss (27.5%) with developmental stage was seen in 2001. The differences between the sampling dates and from others populations of this species from different localities suggested an apparent plasticity of the reproductive traits of C. americanus.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratorio de Carcinoparasitología, Unidad Académica de Ecología y Biodiversidad Acuática, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Apartado Postal 70-305, Mexico, D.F. 04510, Mexico


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