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Moult cycle and growth of Maja squinado (Decapoda: Majidae) in coastal habitats of Galicia, north-west Spain

  • María-Paz Sampedro (a1), Eduardo González-Gurriarán (a2) and Juan Freire (a2)
Abstract

Over the course of the moult cycle of Maja squinado, the spider crab changes in the hardness and colour of the carapace were assessed and used as methods to identify the intermoult stage in each individual. This intermoult staging was later verified by means of the microscopic observation of the maxilla. These staging techniques made it possible for the prompt identification of the principal intermoult stages—postmoult, intermoult and premoult. In 90% of the cases analysed, there was a correlation between the presence of an underlying carapace and a pink colour of the abdominal vein in crabs in advanced premoult stages.

The seasonality of the moult was studied based on the number of specimens in the postmoult stage. There were two main moulting periods—the first occurring in April, and the second, longer period was between July and November. A hypothetical growth model was established and growth rates were determined by length–frequency distribution analyses. Three groups of juveniles and one group of adults were identified. The adults were only found among the population between July and October. In both males and females, the moult increment rate was lower in terminal moults (mean=22%) than in juvenile or prepubertal moults (mean=27%).

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Corresponding author, e-mail: egg@udc.es
References
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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
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