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Reproduction in the Land Crab Johngarthia lagostoma on Ascension Island

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Abstract Reproduction was studied in the land crab Johngarthia lagostoma on Ascension Island in the central South Atlantic from 2005 to 2008. Both sexes are mature by 60-70 mm carapace width (the sample > 4,000 crabs consisted almost entirely of mature specimens). Breeding occurs around the east and south shores of the island, but was studied predominantly at the only easily accessible site at North East Bay. The annual breeding migration extends from January to May, with peak migration in March in most years. The intensity of migration varies between years, and is not obviously related to rainfall. There is lunar entrainment, with increased numbers at the shore in the first quarter, but largest numbers in the last quarter. Both males and females migrate, but with females in greater numbers. At the shore 80% of the crabs are females. A few females mate and lay eggs in the upland residential areas, a greater number do so on the migration route, but the majority only after reaching the shore. Reproductive investment per brood averaged 5% on a dry weight basis, and fecundity averaged 72,000 eggs.


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Affiliations: 1: School of Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 7ZB, U.K; 2: Centre for Ecology and Conservation, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, Penryn TR10 9EZ, U.K; 3: Conservation Department, Ascension Island Government, Ascension Island (UK), South Atlantic Ocean ASCN 1ZZ


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