Claw Regeneration among North Florida Stone Crabs (Genus Menippe) and its Implications to the Southwest Florida Fishery
Claw regeneration among adult stone crabs (N = 740) occupying a subtidal habitat in north Florida was examined. Data were taken during a tagging study in which the number of crabs missing a claw and those with two pincers was noted. The frequency of claw regeneration was 11.9%, which is conservative because not all cases of regeneration were recorded. A log linear model indicated the incidence of claw regeneration differed by sex and size, with sublegal (<80 mm CW) males exhibiting a higher rate (36.4%) of regeneration than other crabs (χ2 = 7.98, P = 0.005). Females regenerating claws exhibited peak egg production later in the summer and did not produce eggs as late into the fall as other females (χ2 = 9.32, P = 0.009). Both males and females regenerating claws did not occur in mating pairs as frequently as expected (χ2 = 6.2, P < 0.05). Claw regeneration did not differ among the Menippe-complex forms in the north Florida hybrid zone and was not associated with the likelihood that a crab was recaptured. There were no size-related or seasonal trends in claw regeneration frequencies that suggested fishing affected claw loss among these crabs. Claw regeneration in this relatively unfished area was comparable to that observed in the southwest Florida fishery, which suggests that fishery-related claw regeneration may not be appreciable. Study results also indicate that the reproductive contribution to the fishery of crabs regenerating claws may be limited.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1995-01-01
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