Latitudinal Variation in Reproductive Characteristics of a Mud Crab, Helice Crassa (Grapsidae)
The population structure and reproductive biology of the burrowing mud crab Helice crassa Dana, 1851 were studied in relation to latitude. Populations from 11 sites in New Zealand between latitudes of 35° South (lowest) and 46°27′ South (highest) were sampled during November and December 1980. Crab densities (crabs·m−2) were correlated significantly with latitude and were higher at low than high latitudes. In general, population size structures were similar, and each population had few large individuals (carapace width > 14.0 mm), an unbiased sex ratio and a size-frequency distribution skewed in favor of juvenile and small crabs (carapace width ≤ 6.0 mm). However, maximum crab size, size of maturity of females, and numbers of eggs carried per female increased significantly with increased latitude. Volumes and dry weights of eggs differed significantly between populations, but independently of latitude. Nevertheless, percentage swelling of eggs during embryonic development did increase significantly from low to high latitudes. The data are discussed in relation to general trends and hypotheses proposed currently for latitudinal effects on marine invertebrate populations.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1983-07-01
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