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Sexual maturity in brachyurans is often associated with an allometric change in the relative growth of the animal. Maturity of Liocarcinus depurator was examined by analysing the monthly percentages of mature females (determined by the stage of gonad maturation and the presence of brood and sperm plugs) by size-class and the relative growth of different body parts: length and width of the carapace, length, height and width of the cheliped propodus; width of the abdominal segments in females and length of the first pleopod in males. Using the reproductive criteria the size at the onset of sexual maturity (carapace width at which 50% females are mature) in females of L. depurator is around 30–34 mm cephalothorax width. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the main source of morphometric variation for both sexes was due to heterochelia and allometric changes in growth. Morphometric variables were fitted using different regression techniques to one and two-phase growth models. The length of the first pleopod and the propodus of the right cheliped in males, and width of abdominal segments in females showed two clearly differentiated phases. Estimated maturity size (carapace width) corresponding to 50% mature animals was greater in males than in females. In males, size at the onset of maturity ranged between 31.4 and 35.7 mm, depending on the methods and variables used. The size at the onset of maturity in females ranged between 25.5 and 31.5 mm. In the Ría de Arousa, the size at maturity in females of L. depurator estimated using reproductive criteria is considerably greater than the size found based on morphometric criteria. The size at maturity based on morphometric criteria is greater in males than in females.
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