Relative growth, morphological sexual maturity, heterochely, and handedness in Panopeus occidentalis (Brachyura, Panopeidae)
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Studies on relative growth and sexual maturity are important to understand the reproductive biology of a species. The aims of this study were to determine the relative growth and to estimate the size of Panopeus occidentalis at morphological sexual maturity, as well as to confirm whether this species demonstrates heterochely or handedness. Individuals were collected every two months from March 2013 to July 2014 in the intertidal estuarine zone of Cananeia, São Paulo, Brazil. The following measurements were taken: carapace width (CW), carapace length (CL), right and left cheliped propodus length (CPL), right and left cheliped propodus height (CPH), right and left cheliped propodus width (CPW), abdomen width (AW), and first pleopod length (FPL). The morphometric relationship used to estimate the size at morphological sexual maturity were CW vs. AW for females and CW vs. FPL for males; these comparisons yielded estimated CW values of 15.60 mm and 16.67 mm, respectively. Heterochely was observed but handedness was not present. The species has a major cheliped on one side, but the side is not constant. This study provides the first insights on the relative growth, sexual maturity, heterochely, and handedness on a population of P. occidentalis in a conserved area.