Important life history parameters are compared in a number of clawed and spiny lobsters. Body size, egg size and the number of spawnings per lifetime are the main determinants of lifetime egg production (E/R). Computation of the latter enables inter-specific and inter-group comparisons
to be made, providing a crude method for assessing relative survival rates of the early life history phases of different groups and species. Intraspecific variations in E/R result largely from variations in size at maturity of females (Lm) and growth rates, which are positively
correlated with each other. In contrast, egg size, larval size and size at settlement display little phenotypic variation and tend to be species-specific. In the clawed lobsters Nephrops and Homarus, relatively large egg sizes imply relatively small broods and low E/R. Significant
differences in E/R between the two latter genera are mainly a function of body size, which in turn is coupled with differences in the survival strategies of the larval and postlarval stages. In spiny lobsters, high E/R values are commonly associated with relatively small egg and large body
size, strategies to boost egg production which have evolved to offset high mortalities of the early life history phases. A puzzling exception to this rule exists in the case of Panulirus guttatus, a small Caribbean spiny lobster which exhibits relatively large egg size coupled with
small body size and low E/R.
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