Differential occupation of habitat as a reproductive strategy of the blue crab Callinectes ornatus Ordway, 1968 (Crustacea: Decapoda)

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The reproductive biology of a species includes factors beyond its sexual maturity, fecundity and reproductive period, and may extend to the differential distribution of individuals. The reproductive dynamics of the blue crab Callinectes ornatus was investigated through monthly collections over the course of 2 years in three bays on the southeastern coast of Brazil. For each bay, six transects were established, four of them parallel to the beach line (at depths of 5, 10, 15, and 20 m), one transect exposed to wave action, and another sheltered from waves. Females and males were classified according to the gonadal maturation stage, and were grouped as individuals with reproductive potential (mature gonads or breeding females) or not (rudimentary gonads or in development). Analyses using ordination techniques (PCA) and gradient analysis (CCA) showed that 82.13 % of environmental variations were explained by the transect arrangement, and these characteristics explained 86.70 % of the differential distribution of female crabs and 96.57 % of the distribution of males. These results indicate that females with reproductive potential were more abundant in deeper regions, while females with rudimentary or developed gonads were abundant in shallower habitats and areas sheltered from wave action. Thus, the distribution of C. ornatus in these bays was linked to their reproductive state, as part of the reproductive strategy of the population. © 2013 Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.




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Marine Biodiversity, p. 1-10.

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