Female reproductive cycle of the Southwestern Atlantic estuarine crab Chasmagnathus granulatus (Brachyura, Grapsoidea, Varunidae)
Keywords:Chasmagnathus granulatus, breeding cycles, hepatosomatic index, gonadosomatic index, hatching
The female reproductive biology of a Chasmagnathus granulatus population inhabiting the area near the mouth of Mar Chiquita coastal lagoon, Argentina, was studied. An increase in air temperature during the spring is related to the start of the breeding period, when well defined egg-laying and hatching pulses were observed. Hatching is synchronic during the whole summer but the egg production was not, probably due to the gradual incorporation of young females to the reproductive population. Neither egg-laying nor larval release showed a clear relation to moon phase or tidal cycles, suggesting that reproduction is not rigidly programmed in this unpredictable habitat. Females moult at the beginning of autumn, after releasing the last larvae. However, a new cohort of ovocytes, which was in primary vitellogenesis before moulting, completed the secondary ovogenesis after moulting. Consequently, ovaries remained fully developed throughout the winter.
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