Morphological study for understanding the sexual pattern in ghost shrimp Callichirus major (Crustacea: Axiidea)
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Callichirus major is a species of ghost shrimp that has burrowing habits, building underground galleries in the intertidal region of beaches. This study aimed to analyse some morphological parameters to verify its type of sexual pattern. A sample of 79 individuals, collected at the beach of Corujão, Espírito Santo, Brazil, was used. Data on the external morphology, presence of gonopores, carapace length (CL) and cheliped lengths (Lch) were obtained. In addition, the gonads were processed for histological analysis. The animals were divided into three categories: A, individuals with male characteristics; B, those presenting exclusively female characteristics; C, animals with characteristics of intersex, which presented supernumerary gonopores. Positive allometries were found for Lch versus CL only for category A, characterizing the group's marked heterochely. Histologically, it was possible to observe the presence of oocytes in category A and one case of male tissue in an intersex individual (category C). However, no genital ducts of both sexes were found in that individual. Callichirus major presents controversial sexual characters, which makes it difficult to understand the reproductive parameters and sexual pattern. However, maybe that species can develop a sexual system of hermaphroditism.