Scientia Marina, Vol 78, No 4 (2014)

Habitat use, relative growth and size at maturity of the purple stone crab Platyxanthus crenulatus (Decapoda: Brachyura), calculated under different models

Nahuel E. Farias
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina

Tomas A. Luppi
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina

Eduardo D. Spivak
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET). Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Argentina


We describe the most noteworthy changes occurring during the post-metamorphic phase in both sexes of the purple stone crab Platyxanthus crenulatus. Spatial structure of the populations by size and early changes in colour pattern and relative growth of chelae suggest an ontogenic migration from intertidal to deeper waters. Before reaching maturity and laying eggs, females undergo a tight sequence of morpho-physiologic changes over a narrow size range (44-64 mm carapace width [CW]). In contrast, males undergo two main phases related to sexual maturity. Early in their lives, they develop sperm and accelerate the relative growth of the chelae (35-45 mm CW). Morphologic maturity of males comes later, when relative growth rate reaches the maximum and decelerate (65-70 mm CW). Adult males are larger and develop conspicuously largest chelae than females. Morphometric analyses were performed by two different techniques: the traditional procedure, which describes relative growth relationships as power functions; and an alternative, smoothing spline–based model that is non-dependent on previous assumptions. The results of the alternative analysis were coherent with other reproductive indicators and ancillary observations, allowing a more comprehensive understanding of the relative growth. We provide supporting material containing the respective script written in R program to be used freely in future studies.


sexual maturity; stone crabs; southwestern Atlantic; alternative methods; relative growth

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