Post-larval development and sexual dimorphism of the spider crab Maja brachydactyla (Brachyura: Majidae)


  • Guillermo Guerao IRTA , Unitat de Cultius Experimentals
  • Guiomar Rotllant IRTA , Unitat de Cultius Experimentals



Majidae, Maja brachydactyla, morphology, juvenile, post-larval development, growth, sexual dimorphism


The post-larval development of the majid crab Maja brachydactyla Balss, 1922 was studied using laboratory-reared larvae obtained from adult individuals collected in the NE Atlantic. The morphology of the first juvenile stage is described in detail, while the most relevant morphological changes and sexual differentiation are highlighted for subsequent juvenile stages, until juvenile 8. The characteristic carapace spines of the adult phase are present in the first juvenile stage, though with great differences in the degree of development and relative size. The carapace shows a high length/weight ratio, which becomes similar to that of adults at stage 7-8. Males and females can be distinguished from juvenile stage 4, based on sexual dimorphism in the pleopods and the presence of gonopores. In addition, the allometric growth of the pleon is sex-dependent from juvenile stage 4, with females showing a positive allometry (b=1.23) and males an isometric allometry (b=1.02).


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How to Cite

Guerao G, Rotllant G. Post-larval development and sexual dimorphism of the spider crab Maja brachydactyla (Brachyura: Majidae). scimar [Internet]. 2009Dec.30 [cited 2022Oct.3];73(4):797-808. Available from:




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