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Spatial, annual and seasonal patterns in the condition and muscle size of snow crab
Dutil, J.-D.; Larocque, R.; Valois, S.; Mayrand, E.; Sainte-Marie, B. (2009). Spatial, annual and seasonal patterns in the condition and muscle size of snow crab. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 156(9): 1903-1916.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Dutil, J.-D.
  • Larocque, R.
  • Valois, S.
  • Mayrand, E.
  • Sainte-Marie, B.

    The extent of spatial (depth and locality) and temporal (season and year) variabilities in condition and relative muscle size (a direct proxy of growth) were examined in male and female adult and non-adult snow crabs Chionoecetes opilio. Condition, determined from the relative size of the digestive gland and moisture content of the muscle and digestive gland, and muscle size, determined as the ratio of merus muscle mass over merus volume, separated as different processes in a principal component analysis. Snow crabs showed a wide range of condition and muscle size values. Overall, the condition was better in non-adult than in adult crabs, with adult females being in worst condition, and muscle size was larger in males than in females. Condition variability was greater for seasonal compared to annual samples, probably reflecting annual molt cycles. In contrast, the muscle size variability was greater for annual compared to seasonal samples, possibly as a result of changing crab abundance and competition intensity during recruitment pulses. Condition and muscle size increased through summer in males and immature females, although to different extents depending on instar, but did not change in adult females. Both condition and muscle size were highly variable at the investigated spatial scales. Condition and muscle size had a significant effect on gonad size, once the effect of crab size was removed, suggesting a direct link between these two parameters and reproductive capability.

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