Population biology of the crab Goniopsis cruentata: variation in body size, sexual maturity, and population density

in Animal Biology
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We studied two key traits in the life of organisms, body size and sexual maturity, and a population attribute, density, of the crab Goniopsis cruentata. Also, we evaluated the role of environmental factors on population density. We caught crabs in two mangrove sites that are under different influence of tidal fluctuation, and obtained pH and salinity of mangrove soil from each site as well as rainfall data for the period of study. Both body size and sexual maturity differed between sites, in which individuals from the small-bodied population matured at smaller sizes than their counterparts from the large-bodied population, which matured at larger sizes. In addition, density of the small-bodied population was lower than that of the large-bodied one. We did not detect any influence of the environmental factors on population density. Our finding indicate that key life history traits and population characteristics can vary on a very small spatial scale which may help to further elucidate the biology of natural populations.

Population biology of the crab Goniopsis cruentata: variation in body size, sexual maturity, and population density

in Animal Biology



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    Mean body sizes (black dots) and their respective confidence intervals (bars) of males and females of Goniopsis cruentata at site I and site II, in the Jaguaribe River, Ceará, Brazil.

  • View in gallery

    Morphological maturity of males (left panels) and females (right panels) of Goniopsis cruentata at site I and site II, in the Jaguaribe River, Ceará, Brazil. n: number of crabs; CW: carapace width; GL: gonopod length; AW: abdomen width; R2: coefficient of determination; p: value of confidence.

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    Physiological maturity of males and females of Goniopsis cruentata at site I (solid line) and site II (dashed lines), in the Jaguaribe River, Ceará, Brazil. Size (mm) at which 50% of crabs are mature (CW50%). Number of males: 11 immature and 45 mature at site I, and 14 immature and 30 mature males at site II. Number of females: 22 immature and 30 mature at site I, and 34 immature and 25 mature females at site II.

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    Population density (ind/m2) of Goniopsis cruentata of site I and site II for the period of study, Jaguaribe River, Ceará, Brazil. The black dot represents the mean density and the bars the confidence interval (95%).

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