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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT The anomuran crab Emerita portoricensis often occurs in the intertidal zone of sandy beaches in the Caribbean. Four sites on Puerto Rico, within Mayagüez and Añasco bays, were sampled for 2 years in order to construct size-frequency distributions and determine relative growth and survival of each sex. Emerita portoricensis was regarded as a dioecious species, since no intermediate forms were found in any of the 30,755 specimens. Size frequency distributions of male and female mole crabs were not significantly different between sites. However, the maximum length of the carapace of male mole crabs (11 mm) was shorter than that of females (19 mm). Growth curves based on size-frequency distributions indicated that females grew significantly faster than males. Densities of males were greatest following recruitment. The percentage survival of young individuals (< 5 months of age) was higher for males than females and percentage survival of older mole crabs was greater for females. Results of this study indicate that sexual heterogeneities in size structure of populations can be explained by differential growth and survival of the sexes.


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