Scientia Marina, Vol 73, No 2 (2009)

Structure and absolute growth of a population of Hippolyte inermis Leach 1815 (Decapoda: Caridea) from Zostera marina (L.) meadows (Malaga, southern Spain)

M. Eugenia Manjón-Cabeza
Departamento de Biología Animal, Universidad de Málaga , Spain

Vanesa Cobos
Departamento de Biología Animal, Universidad de Málaga , Spain

J. Enrique García Muñoz
Departamento de Biología Animal, Universidad de Málaga , Spain

J. Enrique García Raso
Departamento de Biología Animal, Universidad de Málaga , Spain


The Hippolyte inermis Leach 1815 population from Zostera marina beds in southern Spain showed two recruitment periods that occurred simultaneously for both sexes (from September to December and from April to June), in a size range between 1.67 and 1.90 mm carapace length, due to gonadal activity and eggs hatching in summer and winter. The estimated Von Bertalanffy parameters were used to determine absolute growth and showed that males live for around 8 months and females for around 12 months; consequently, four cohorts for males and 7 to 8 for females can coexist throughout the cycle. The sex ratio favours females throughout the entire life cycle. Data published on the reproductive biology of H. inermis support the idea that this is a protandric hermaphrodite species, though recent studies have revealed that there is no histological proof of hermaphroditic sexuality in adult specimens of this species. The results obtained here indicate that the Cañuelo Beach Hippolyte inermis population has a gonochoric structure. If H. inermis were to have hermaphroditic sexuality, the sex reversal of adult males would occur in a single moult in the size range between 2.42 and 3.22 mm. These new, secondary females would be incorporated into the primary female cohort at practically the same size, although they would be 0.12 to 5.20 months younger. Our results, compared with those from other population studies, suggest that this species has a highly plastic population structure, which seems to be determined by external factors and which varies between the protandric and gonochoric condition, depending on the conditions of the habitat.


Hippolyte inermis; Caridea; growth; population dynamic; reproductive biology

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