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MOLT CYCLE OF MALE SNOW CRABS, CHIONOECETES OPILIO, FROM OBSERVATIONS OF EXTERNAL FEATURES, SETAL CHANGES, AND FEEDING BEHAVIOR

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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Male snow crabs, Chionoecetes opilio, 67-94 mm carapace width (CW), were held in laboratory conditions over a 6-month period and examined regularly for changes in shell rigidity, shell color, ecdysial suture, setal development, and feeding behavior. Softening and decalcification of the cheliped merus, posterior carapace, and first abdominal segment occurred during premolt. Hardening of these areas and the mouthparts and dorsal carapace together with changes in the ecdysial suture and shell color were useful for defining postmolt stages. Setal changes at the tip of the maxilliped exopodites provided a reliable method for defining premolt stages. Crabs stopped feeding 3-6 weeks before molt and for 3-4 weeks after molt. From these results a description and definition of the different stages of the molt cycle was developed which included information on the duration of each stage. The implications of the findings to the snow crab fishery are noted.

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/content/journals/10.2307/1548309
1988-01-01
2016-12-03

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