Scientia Marina, Vol 70, No 4 (2006)

Interpopulational differences in the female reproductive cycle of the southwestern Atlantic estuarine crab Chasmagnathus granulatus Dana, 1851 (Brachyura: Grapsoidea: Varunidae)

Romina B. Ituarte
Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Mar del Plata, , Argentina

Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina.

Claudia Bas
Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Mar del Plata, , Argentina

Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina.

Tomás A. Luppi
Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Mar del Plata, , Argentina

Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina.

Eduardo D. Spivak
Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Mar del Plata , Argentina

Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina.


The female reproductive biology of Chasmagnathus granulatus Dana, a semiterrestrial burrowing crab endemic to the southwestern Atlantic, was compared in two contrasting coastal habitats: San Antonio (SA, marine) and Mar Chiquita (MC, estuarial). Mature females were collected monthly for 1.5 years and the ovarian cycle was described using a qualitative scale. Gonadosomatic (GSI) and hepatosomatic (HSI) indexes were calculated. The highest GSI and HSI occurred early in the reproductive season in SA and during the non-reproductive season in MC. The beginning and duration of the reproductive season also differed between populations: it started later and was shorter in SA. In MC, secondary vitellogenesis continued when the reproductive season had finished, and the ovaries remained fully developed throughout the non-reproductive season (winter). Therefore, females of MC were ready to lay eggs as soon as spring environmental conditions appeared. However, SA females did not attain a fully developed ovary during winter. A limited food supply would restrict the available energy to complete secondary vitellogenesis at the end of the reproductive season in SA, after the last spawning. Thus, the vitellogenic cycle should be completed in the following spring, causing a delay in the beginning of the reproductive period. In addition, the higher temperature amplitude may cause the reproductive period in SA to end early.


estuary; crab; Argentina; ovarian cycle; gonadosomatic index; hepatosomatic index

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