Size at sexual maturity of female crabs Sesarma rectum Randall (Crustacea, Brachyura) and ontogenetic variations in the abdomen relative growth
Revista Brasileira de Zoologia
The aim of the present study was to ascertain the size at sexual maturity in females of the crab Sesarma rectum Randall, 1840 by comparing gonadal maturity to morphologic maturity (using abdomen-width data). The relative growth of the abdomen was analysed for all growth phases (for each 3-mm carapace width size class), and the slopes of the separate allometric relationships were compared through analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) from log e-transformed data to detect changes in the level of
... the level of allometry during ontogeny. The physiological size at maturity (gonadal criteria) was determined through a logistic curve, indicating the size at which 50% of females presented mature gonads (M50 = 17.4 mm CW). The highest allometric levels occurred in growth phases 2 and 3 (body sizes ranging from 15 to 21 mm CW), indicating faster growth of the abdomen during those phases. Phases 1 (< 15 mm CW) and 4 and 5 (size classes above 21 mm CW) showed isometric growth. In the study area, a mangrove on the northern coast of the state of São Paulo, Brazil, individuals of S. rectum began to reach sexual maturity from 15 mm CW onward, when the slopes of the relationship of abdomen width to carapace width became positively allometric, indicating a differential growth rate. A gradual decrease in the slope, tending to isometry, occurred during ontogeny, as the animals became larger (older).