Scientia Marina, Vol 79, No 3 (2015)

Growth and reproduction investment of the young of the year of the squat lobster Munida gregaria (Crustacea: Anomura) in the Patagonian coast

Martin Varisco
Centro de Investigación y Transferencia Chubut, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas , Argentina

Julio H. Vinuesa
Centro de Investigación y Transferencia Chubut, Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas , Argentina


The growth and reproduction investment of the young of the year (0+) of the squat lobster Munida gregaria in San Jorge Gulf, Argentina, were analysed. Moult cycle and size frequency distribution were studied in monthly field samples. Experiments to determine moult increments and intermoult duration were conducted. Sexual maturity, fecundity and reproductive output were analysed in field samples. In addition, maturity experiments in laboratory cultures were conducted. After settlement (November), juveniles showed fast growth until winter (July) and growth restarted in September-October. At the beginning of the mating period (early June), males 0+ exhibited mature gonads, whereas females 0+ only showed previtellogenic oocytes. Experimental data showed that females with developed gonads had smaller-size increments in the previous moult. Fecundity and reproductive output were significantly lower in females 0+ than in older females. The early life history of M. gregaria in San Jorge Gulf differs from that of southern populations as those of Beagle Channel and Strait of Magellan due to faster growth and early reproductive investment. Our results suggest that females 0+ of M. gregaria have two investment strategies: early maturity with low fecundity and delayed maturity with higher future fecundity.


resource allocation; growth; moult; maturity; fecundity; squat lobsters; Munida gregaria; Patagonia

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