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The reproductive cycle and size at maturity observed in Cancer pagurus in the Shetland Islands, Scotland

  • Shelly M.L. Tallack (a1)

Abstract

Seasonality of the reproductive cycle for Cancer pagurus was determined using three biological indicators: extruding sperm plugs (mating period), extrusion of eggs (spawning period) and presence of empty egg capsules (hatching period). Sperm plugs were found only in recently moulted females, indicating that mating coincides with moulting periods. Cancer pagurus mating indicators were observed during the summer months and into autumn; spawning occurred in winter, and broods were hatching throughout the summer into early autumn. Size at maturity, was assessed using a variety of reproductive and morphometric criteria; estimates from reproductive criteria are generally larger than those from morphometric criteria and these differences are often indicative of ‘functional’ vs ‘behavioural’ maturity. In C. pagurus, size at maturity estimates ranged from 101.6–125.0 mm carapace width (CW) in males and 110.7–147.3 mm CW in females; the sizes at functional maturity proposed are larger than those from morphometric indicators.

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The reproductive cycle and size at maturity observed in Cancer pagurus in the Shetland Islands, Scotland

  • Shelly M.L. Tallack (a1)

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