Abstract Ucides cordatus is a species of considerable ecological and socioeconomic importance. The goal of this study is to contribute to the understanding of the reproduction biology of this species by describing the macroscopic anatomy,
the histology of the female reproductive system and the reproductive cycle of U. cordatus. A total of 367 females were obtained from October of 2002 to March of 2005 during monthly collections in the Baía de Antonina, Paraná, Brazil. Specimens were submitted to necropsy
and their reproductive systems (ovary and spermathecae) were analysed histologically. Permanent slides were stained with Harris' hematoxylin and eosin, Mallory's trichromic and the periodic acid‐Schiff reaction. Ovarian analysis allowed for the determination of five developmental stages
based on the prevalence of oocytes in different phases of vitellogenesis. During stage V, when ovaries recover from spawning, the presence of oocytes in advanced stages of vitellogenesis was detected, suggesting that there could be more than one spawning in a single reproductive period. Females
in stage IV were most common in the spring (November through February), whereas females with their egg mass exposed were most frequent from November through March. The reproductive period of U. cordatus in mangroves of the study region occurred from October to March. The reproductive
events observed in the present study suggest that spermatophores acquired during copulation, which takes place during the ‘andada’, are only used in the reproductive period of the following year.