An extensive area near Bimini, Bahamas, was diver surveyed and monitored during five autumn periods to estimate and characterize the autumnal reproduction of Panulirus argus. Both the shallow Bahama Bank and the deeper fringing reef areas were sampled. Bank areas were totally
devoid of any reproductive activity, while in local deep-water populations the reproductive rate far exceeded previously reported estimates; gravid females comprising 30-40% of the local female population. Correlations of female reproductive state with area of capture, depth of capture, and
size of female are reported. Evidence is given that large females, which comprise a small segment of the population, are more fecund as a group than smaller, but still sexually mature, females. Data suggest that single fertilizations per spermatophore predominate in local populations in the
fall. Autumnal reproduction on P. argus may contribute more to the population than previously believed. It is felt that traditional trap capture has underestimated the gravid female population in certain habitats, and that diver-capture methods may be a necessary adjunct to stock
assessment for this species.
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