Relative growth, sexual maturity and handedness in the ghost shrimp Callichirus major (Decapoda: Callianassidae) from the southwestern Atlantic


  • Juliana Priscila Piva Rio Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Instituto de Biociências (IB), Câmpus do Litoral Paulista (CLP), Grupo de Pesquisa em Biologia de Crustáceos (CRUSTA) - Programa de Pós-graduação em Biodiversidade Aquática (PPGBA), UNESP IB/CLP
  • Patricio Hernáez Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Instituto de Biociências (IB), Câmpus do Litoral Paulista (CLP), Grupo de Pesquisa em Biologia de Crustáceos (CRUSTA) - Universidad de Tarapacá (UTA), Facultad de Ciencias, Centro de Estudios Marinos y Limnológicos
  • Marcelo Antonio Amaro Pinheiro Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Instituto de Biociências (IB), Câmpus do Litoral Paulista (CLP), Grupo de Pesquisa em Biologia de Crustáceos (CRUSTA) - Programa de Pós-graduação em Biodiversidade Aquática (PPGBA), UNESP IB/CLP



Axiidea, Brazil, chelar morphometry, Crustacea, population biology, sexual dimorphism


Biometric studies provide valuable information about changes associated with the growth and sexual maturity of living organisms. We analysed sexual dimorphism, allometric growth, sexual maturity and handedness in the ghost shrimp Callichirus major at Gonzaga beach, Brazil, where the catches of this species have been prohibited since 1992. To this end, a total of 544 individuals of C. major were collected during 12 months of sampling. Males were significantly smaller than females, denoting sexual dimorphism with respect to body size. The analysis of allometric growth between chelar carpus length and carapace length (CL) revealed a positive allometric relationship in juveniles of both sexes and adult males, but a negative allometry in adult females. Overall, our results showed the existence of two main growth phases related to sexual maturity, with a similar transition point for males (15.0 mm CL) and females (16.0 mm CL). Heterochely and homochely were registered in shrimp from both sexes, but in males heterochely occurred to a higher degree and was predominant (86.9%), whereas in females homochely was slightly more frequent (59.3%). The consequences of sexual dimorphism in terms of body size and chelipeds in the mating system of C. major are discussed in this study.


Download data is not yet available.


Alves-Júnior F.A., Feitosa F.A.N, Araújo M. 2014. Crescimento alométrico de Callichirus major (Say 1818) (Crustacea: Callianassidae) em uma praia arenosa do nordeste brasileiro. Trop. Oceanogr. 42: 13-21. [In Portuguese]

Alves-Júnior F.A., Santana J.L., Figueiredo A.M.F., et al. 2018. Population and reproductive biology of Callichirus major (Say, 1818) (Decapoda: Axiidae: Callianassidae) in an urban beach, Northeastern Brazil. Pan-Am. J. Aquat. Sci. 13: 166-178.

Bauer R.T. 2004. Remarkable shrimps. Norman OK: Oklahoma University Press. 282 pages.

Berkenbusch K., Rowden A.A. 1998. Population dynamics of the burrowing ghost shrimp Callianassa filholi on an intertidal sandflat in New Zealand (Decapoda: Thalassinidea). Ophelia 49: 55-69.

Bueno S.L.S., Shimizu R.M. 2009. Allometric growth, sexual maturity, and adult male chelae dimorphism in Aegla franca (Decapoda: Anomura: Aeglidae). J. Crustac. Biol. 29: 317-328.

Davanso T.M., Taddei F.G., Hirose G.L., et al. 2016. Sexual maturity, handedness and sexual dimorphism of the freshwater crab Dilocarcinus pagei in south eastern Brazil. Bol. Inst. Pesca 42: 269-279.

Devine C.E. 1966. Ecology of Callianassa filholi Milne-Edwards, 1878 (Crustacea, Thalassinidea). T. Roy. Soc. Nz. 8: 93-110.

Dworschak P.C. 1998. Observations on the biology of the burrowing mud shrimps Callianassa tyrrhena and C. candida (Decapoda: Thalassinidea). J. Nat. Hist. 32: 1535-1548.

Felder D.L. 2001. Diversity and ecological significance of deep-burrowing macrocrustaceans in coastal tropical waters of Americas (Decapoda: Thalassinidea). Interciencia 26: 440-449.

Felder D.L., Lovett D.L. 1989. Relative growth and sexual maturation in the estuarine ghost shrimp Callianassa louisianensis Schmitt, 1935. J. Crustac. Biol. 9: 540-553.

Hailstone T.S., Stephenson W. 1961. The biology of Callianassa (Trypaea) australiensis Dana, 1852 (Crustacea, Thalassinidea). Univ. Queensl. Pap. 1: 259-285.

Hartnoll R.G. 1974. Variation in growth pattern between some secondary sexual characters in crabs (Decapoda, Brachyura). Crustaceana 27: 151-156.

Hartnoll R.G. 1978. The determination of relative growth in Crustacea. Crustaceana 34: 281-293.

Hartnoll R.G. 1982. Growth. In: Abele L.G. (ed), The biology of Crustacea - Embryology, Morphology and Genetics. Academic Press, New York, pp. 111-196.

Hartnoll R.G. 2012. Relative growth: description and analysis. In: Schram F.R., von Vaupel Klein J.C. (eds), Treatise on Zoology. The Crustacea - Anatomy, Taxonomy, Biology. Brill, Leiden, pp. 365-401.

Hay W.P., Shore C.A. 1918. The decapod crustaceans of Beaufort, N.C., and the surrounding region. Bull. U.S. Bur. Fish. 35: 371-475.

Hernáez P. 2018. An update on reproduction in ghost shrimps (Decapoda: Axiidea) and mud lobsters (Decapoda: Gebiidea). In: Türko?lu M., Önal U, Ismen A., Marine Ecology, IntechOpen, pp. 231-253.

Hernáez P., João M.C.A. 2018. Social structure, sexual dimorphism and relative growth in the ghost shrimp Callichirus seilacheri (Bott, 1955) (Decapoda, Axiidea, Callianassidae) from the tropical Eastern Pacific. Mar. Biol. Res. 14: 856-867.

Hernáez P., Wehrtmann I.S. 2007. Population biology of the burrowing shrimp Callichirus seilacheri (Decapoda: Callianassidae) in northern Chile. Rev. Biol. Trop. 55: 141-152.

Hernáez P., Gamboa-González A., De Grave S. 2015. Callichirus garthi is a valid species, distinct from C. seilacheri (Decapoda: Axiidea: Callianassidae). Mar. Biol. Res. 11: 990-997.

Hernáez P., Granda-Rodríguez H., Rio J.P.P., et al. 2018. Morphological remarks in the ghost shrimp Callichirus seilacheri (Bott, 1955) (Decapoda, Callianassidae). Bol. Inst. Pesca 44: 91-99.

Hernáez P., Hereman M.J., Pimenta C.E.R., et al. 2019. La efectividad de una ley de protección al servicio de la conservación de un recurso marino: El ejemplo del camarón fantasma Callichirus major (Decapoda, Callianassidae) de la costa de Brasil. Iheringia 109: 1-9.

Huxley J.S. 1950. Relative growth and form transformation. Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 137: 465-469. PMid:14797659

Hyzny M., Muller P.M. 2010. The first fossil record of the genus Callichirus (Decapoda, Axiidea, Callianassidae) from the middle Miocene of Hungary, with description of a new species. Bull. Mizunami Fossil Mus. 36: 37-43.

Laitano M.V., Farias N.E., Cledón M. 2013. Prey preference of the stone crab Platyxanthus crenulatus (Decapoda: Platyxanthidae) in laboratory conditions. Nauplius 21: 17-23.

Manning R.B., Felder D.L. 1986. The status of the callianassid genus Callichirus Stimpson, 1866 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Thalassinidea). P. Biol. Soc. Wash. 99: 437-443.

Manning R.B., Felder D.L. 1991. Revision of the American Callianassidae (Crustacea: Decapoda: Thalassinidea). P. Biol. Soc. Wash. 104: 764-792.

Mariappan P., Balasundaram C., Schmitz B. 2000. Decapod crustacean chelipeds: an overview. J. Biosci. 25: 301-313. PMid:11022233

Melo G.A.S. 1999. Manual de identificação dos Crustacea Decapoda do litoral brasileiro: Anomura, Thalassinidea, Palinuridea e Astacidea. Editora Plêiade/FAPESP, São Paulo, 551 pp. [In Portuguese]

Nates S.F., Felder D.L. 1999. Growth and maturation of the ghost shrimp Lepidophthalmus sinuensis Lemaitre and Rodrigues, 1991 (Crustacea, Decapoda, Callianassidae), a burrowing pest in penaeid shrimp culture ponds. Fish. Bull. 97: 526-541.

Pardal-Souza A.L., Pinheiro M.A.A. 2013. Relative growth and reproduction in Achelous spinicarpus (Crustacea: Portunidae) on the south-eastern continental shelf of Brazil. J. Mar. Biol. Assoc. U.K. 93: 667-674.

Pescinelli R.A., Almeida A.O., Costa R.C. 2018. Population structure, relative growth and morphological sexual maturity of the snapping shrimp Alpheus brasileiro Anker, 2012 (Caridea: Alpheidae) from the south-eastern coast of Brazil. Mar. Biol. Res. 14: 610-620.

Pinheiro M.A.A., Fransozo A. 1998. Sexual maturity of the speckled swimming crab Arenaeus cribrarius (Lamarck, 1818) (Decapoda: Brachyura: Portunidae), in the Ubatuba litoral, São Paulo State, Brazil. Crustaceana 71: 434-452.

R Core Team. 2013. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna, R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Access in: 12/07/2017.

Rio J.P.P. 2018. Taxonomia, morfologia reprodutiva e crescimento relativo no camarão-fantasma Callichirus major (Say, 1818) (Decapoda: Callianassidae), no sudeste do Brasil. M.Sc thesis, Instituto de Biociências do Litoral Paulista, Universidade Estadual Paulista, 91 pp. [In Portuguese]

Rodrigues S.A. 1971. Mud shrimps of the genus Callianassa Leach from the Brazilian coast (Crustacea, Decapoda). Arq. Zool. 20: 191-223.

Rodrigues S.A. 1976. Sobre a reprodução, embriologia e desenvolvimento larval de Callichirus major Say, 1818 (Crustacea, Decapoda Thalassinidea). Bol. Zool. 1: 85-104. [In Portuguese]

Rodrigues S.A. 1985. Sobre o crescimento relativo de Callichirus major (Say, 1818) (Crustacea, Decapoda, Thalassinidea). Bol. Zool. 9: 195-211. [In Portuguese]

Rodrigues S.A., Hödl W. 1990. Burrowing behaviour in the ghost shrimps Callichirus major and C. mirim. Wiss. Film. 41: 48-58.

Rodrigues S.A., Shimizu R.M. 1997. Autoecologia de Callichirus major (Say, 1818). Oecol. Austral. 3: 155-170. [In Portuguese]

Rosa-Filho J.S., Girard T.C., Frédou F.L. 2013. Population dynamics of the burrowing shrimp Lepidophthalmus siriboia Felder and Rodrigues, 1993 (Reptantia: Axiidea: Callianassidae) on the Amazonian coast. J. Crustac. Biol. 33: 503-511.

Rosa L.C., Freire K.M.F, Souza M.J.M. 2018. Spatial distribution and population dynamics of Callichirus major (Crustacea, Callianassidae) in a tropical sandy beach, northeastern Brazil. Invertebr Biol. 137: 308-318.

Sokal R.R., Rohlf T.J. 2003. Biometry: the principles and practice of statistics in biological research. Freeman, New York.

Somerton D.A. 1980. A computer technique for estimating the size of sexual maturity in crabs. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 37: 1488-1494.

Somerton D.A., Macintosh R.A. 1983. The size at sexual maturity of blue king crab, Paralithodes platypus, in Alaska. Fish. Bull. 81: 621-628.

Somiya R., Tamaki A. 2017. Unraveling mating behavior for Axiidea (Crustacea: Decapoda): burrow-dwelling callinassid shrimp in intertidal sandflat. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 486: 305-313.

Souza J.R.B., Borzone C.A. 2003. A extração de corrupto, Callichirus major (Say) (Crustacea, Thalassinidea), para uso como isca em praias do litoral do Paraná: as populações exploradas. Rev. Bras. Zool. 20: 625-630. [In Portuguese]

Souza T.L., Braga A.A., López-Greco L.S., et al. 2017. Functional morphology of the male reproductive system in Callichirus major (Crustacea: Decapoda: Axiidea): Evidence of oocytes in the gonad. Acta Zool. 119: 1-10.



How to Cite

Piva Rio JP, Hernáez P, Amaro Pinheiro MA. Relative growth, sexual maturity and handedness in the ghost shrimp Callichirus major (Decapoda: Callianassidae) from the southwestern Atlantic. scimar [Internet]. 2019Jun.30 [cited 2021Dec.2];83(2):167-75. Available from: