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Reproduction strategy of the deep-sea hermit crabs Pagurus alatus and Pagurus excavatus of the Central-Western Mediterranean Sea
Mura, M.; Orrù, F.; Cau, A. (2006). Reproduction strategy of the deep-sea hermit crabs Pagurus alatus and Pagurus excavatus of the Central-Western Mediterranean Sea, in: Thessalou-Legaki, M. (Ed.) Issues of decapod crustacean biology. Developments in Hydrobiology, 184: pp. 51-57
In: Thessalou-Legaki, M. (Ed.) (2006). Issues of decapod crustacean biology. Developments in Hydrobiology, 184. Springer: Dordrecht. ISBN 978-1-4020-4599-8. 160 pp., more
In: Dumont, H.J. (Ed.) Developments in Hydrobiology. Kluwer Academic/Springer: The Hague; London; Boston; Dordrecht. ISSN 0167-8418, more

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Keywords
    Fecundity; Spawning; Pagurus alatus Fabricius, 1775 [WoRMS]; Pagurus excavatus (Herbst, 1791) [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Hermit crab; Reproductive biology

Authors  Top 
  • Mura, M.
  • Orrù, F.
  • Cau, A.

Abstract
    Some aspects of the reproductive biology of two hermit crabs Pagurus alatus (Fabricius, 1775) and P. excavatus (Herbst, 1791) were studied. Specimens were collected monthly from April 2000 to March 2001 on the continental shelf and the upper-middle slope off the Southwestern coasts of Sardinia, in the central-western Mediterranean Sea. Crab size (minimum and maximum shield length) was 1.7 and 9.5 mm for 1150 females of P. alatus; 4.0 and 10.4 mm for 347 females of P. excavatus, respectively. Females of P. alatus with ripe ovaries were only found in February-April and ovigerous females were observed throughout the year except in March, with the highest incidence in summer. Females of P. excavatus with fully developed ovaries were collected during all months of the year reaching a peak from April to June. Ovigerous females of P. excavatus occurred throughout the year and the main spawning period occurred in March and April. Fecundity of both species was calculated to assess seasonal variation of reproductive intensity and was positively correlated with the size of the individuals. Monthly fecundity did not reveal significant differences in P. alatus ovigerous females, whereas P. excavatus exhibited significant differences in monthly fecundity depending on the time of year. Difference in fecundity among P. alatus and P. excavatus can be related to the size of the ovigerous females and species of hermit crab, but their different reproductive strategies suggest that they are specifically related to different environmental conditions.

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