Moulting of the semi-terrestrial crab Chiromantes haematocheir (De Haan, 1833) (Decapoda, Sesarmidae) in Taiwan

in Crustaceana
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


Population structure and moulting of the semi-terrestrial crab Chiromantes haematocheir (De Haan, 1833) were studied in Taiwan. The crab moults nocturnally in small freshwater pools, and newly moulted crabs and cast integuments were used to assess moult increment. Males reached a larger size (max. CW 36 mm, n=272) than females (max. CW 33 mm, n=164): from 22 mm CW males increasingly dominated the population. Size at maturity was estimated at 17.5 mm CW.

The percentage moult increment averaged 11.5% in males (5.5-19%, n=153) and 13.9% in females (7-23%, n=72). Female increment exceeded male increment for all overlapping size classes. The larger size of mature males, despite a smaller percentage increment, is explained by a higher post-puberty moult frequency. Of the moulting crabs, 25% of males and 38% of females had one or more missing or regenerating peraeopods. In both sexes this reduced the percentage increment, more so the larger number of limbs affected. The moulting conditions for C. haematocheir are not ideal, with constraints in relation to calcium supplies, and shelter. So the moult increments are unsurprisingly less than those of shallow water marine crabs moulting in an optimal environment, but larger than those of land crabs moulting without access to standing water.


International Journal of Crustacean Research



BennettD. B., 1974. Growth of the edible crab (Cancer pagurus L.) off south-west England. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K., 54: 803-823.

BroekhuysenG. J., 1941. The life history of Cyclograpsus punctatus M. Edw.: breeding and growth. Trans. R. Soc. S. Africa, 28: 331-366.

BroekhuysenG. J., 1955. The breeding and growth of Hymenosoma orbiculare Desm. (Crustacea, Brachyura). Ann. S. Afr. Mus., 41: 313-343.

ButlerT. H., 1961. Growth and age determination of the Pacific edible crab Cancer magister Dana. J. Fish. Res. Bd Canada, 18: 873-891.

CleaverF. C., 1949. Preliminary results on the coastal crab Cancer magister. Washington State Dept. Fish. Biol. Rep., A49: 47-62.

CrothersJ. H., 1967. The biology of the shore crab Carcinus maenas (L.). Field Stud., 2: 407-434.

DrewM. M.HartnollR. G.HanssonB. S., 2012. An improved mark-recapture method using passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags in Birgus latro (Linnaeus, 1767). Crustaceana, 85: 89-102.

DrewM. M.SmithM. J.HanssonB. S., 2013. Factors influencing growth of giant terrestrial robber crab Birgus latro (Anomura: Coenobitidae) on Christmas Island. Aquat. Biol., 19: 129-141.

FitzH. C.WiegertR. G., 1991. Tagging juvenile blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, with microwire tags: retention, survival, and growth through multiple molts. J. Crust. Biol., 11: 229-235.

FletcherW. J.BrownI. W.FielderD. R., 1990. Growth of the coconut crab Birgus latro in Vanuatu. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., 141: 63-78.

GiffordC. A., 1962. Some observations on the general biology of the land crab, Cardisoma guanhumi (Latreille) in South Florida. Biol. Bull., Woods Hole, 97: 207-223.

GuyselmanJ. B., 1953. An analysis of the molting process in the fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. Biol. Bull., Woods Hole, 104: 115-137.

HartnollR. G., 1978. The effect of salinity and temperature on the post-larval growth of the crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii. In: McLuskyD. S.BerryA. J. (eds.), Physiology and behaviour of marine organisms: 349-358. (Pergamon Press, Oxford).

HartnollR. G., 1982. Growth. In: AbeleL. G. (ed.), The biology of Crustacea, 2: 111-196. (Academic Press, New York, NY).

HartnollR. G., 1983. Strategies of crustacean growth. Mem. Austr. Mus., 18: 121-131.

HartnollR. G., 1988a. Evolution, systematics and geographical distribution. In: BurggrenW. W.McMahonB. R. (eds.), Biology of the land crabs: 6-54. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge).

HartnollR. G., 1988b. Growth and molting. In: BurggrenW. W.McMahonB. R. (eds.), Biology of the land crabs: 186-210. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge).

HartnollR. G., 2012. Relative growth: description and analysis. In: ForestJ.von Vaupel KleinJ. C. (eds.), Treatise on zoology — anatomy, taxonomy, biology. The Crustacea, Revised and Updated From the Traité de Zoologie, 3: 365-401. (Brill, Leiden).

HartnollR. G., 2015. Postlarval life histories. In: SchramF. R.von Vaupel KleinJ. C.Charmantier-DauresM.ForestJ. (eds.), Treatise on zoology — anatomy, taxonomy, biology. The Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura (Part 1), 9 (C-1): 375-416. (Brill, Leiden).

HartnollR. G.BaineM. S. P.GrandasY.JamesJ.AtkinH., 2006. Population biology of the black land crab, Gecarcinus ruricola, in the San Andres Archipelago, western Caribbean. J. Crust. Biol., 26: 316-325.

HiattR. W., 1948. The biology of the lined shore crab Pachygrapsus crassipes Randall. Pacif. Sci., 2: 135-213.

HogarthP. J., 1975. Instar number and growth of juvenile Carcinus maenas (L.) (Decapoda, Brachyura). Crustaceana, 29: 299-300.

KosugeT., 1993. Molting and breeding cycles of the rock-dwelling ocypodid crab Macrophthalmus boteltobagoe (Sakai, 1939) (Decapoda, Brachyura). Crustaceana, 64: 56-65.

KurataH., 1962. Studies on the age and growth of Crustacea. Bull. Hokkaido Reg. Fish. Res. Lab., 24: 1-115.

McLayC. L., 1982. Population biology of the sponge crab Cryptodromia hilgendorfi (Dromiacea) in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Mar. Biol., Berlin, 70: 317-326.

McLayC. L., 2015. Moulting and growth in Brachyura. In: SchramF. R.von Vaupel KleinJ. C.Charmantier-DauresM.ForestJ. (eds.), Treatise on zoology — anatomy, taxonomy, biology. The Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura (Part 1), 9 (C-1): 245-316. (Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden).

MohamedeenH.HartnollR. G., 1989. Larval and postlarval growth of individually reared specimens of the common shore crab Carcinus maenas (L.). J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol., 134: 1-24.

NordhausI.WolffM.DieleK., 2006. Litter processing and population food intake of the mangrove crab Ucides cordatus in a high intertidal forest in northern Brazil. Est. Coastl. Shelf Sci., 67: 239-250.

NumanoiH., 1940. Behavior of blood calcium in the formation of gastrolith in some decapod crustaceans. Japanese J. Zool., 8: 357-363.

SasakiJ.KuwaharaY., 1999. A growth model of the hair crab, Erimacrus isenbeckii (Brandt) (Crustacea: Brachyura: Decapoda): application of morphological methods and innovatory statistical methods for identification of crab instars. Sci. Rep. Hokkaido Fish. Exp. Sta., 55: 29-67.

SkinnerD. M.GrahamD. E., 1972. Loss of limbs as a stimulus to ecdysis in Brachyura (true crabs). Biol. Bull., Woods Hole, 143: 222-233.

SmithD. L., 1990. Patterns of limb loss in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, and the effects of autotomy on growth. Bull. Mar. Sci., 46: 23-36.

SparkesS.GreenawayP., 1984. The haemolymph as a storage site for cuticular ions during premolt in the freshwater/land crab Holthuisana transversa. J. Exp. Biol., 113: 43-54.

SpivakE. D., 1990. Limb regeneration in a common South-American littoral crab Cyrtograpsus angulatus. J. Nat. Hist., London, 24: 393-402.

TagatzM. E., 1968. Growth of juvenile blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, in the St. Johns River, Florida. Fish. Bull., U.S., 67: 281-288.

TanakaM.HaraM., 1988. Ecology of Sesarma (Holometopus) haematocheir (de Haan) in Amakusa. 1. Growth Rate. Publ. Amakusa Mar. Biol. Lab. Kyushu Univ., 9: 77-92.

TuroboyskiK., 1973. Biology and ecology of the crab Rhithropanopeus harrisii ssp. tridentatus. Mar. Biol., Berlin, 23: 303-313.

VuilleminS., 1970. Observations écologiques et biologiques sur Madagapotamon humberti, Bott 1955 (Crustacé, Décapode, Potamonidé) du massif de l’Ankarana (Madagascar). Ann. Univ. Madagascar, 7: 245-266.

WarnerG. F., 1967. The life history of the mangrove tree crab, Aratus pisoni. J. Zool. London, 153: 321-335.

WolcottT. G., 1988. Ecology. In: BurggrenW. W.McMahonB. R. (eds.), Biology of the land crabs: 55-96. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge).


  • Chiromantes haematocheir (De Haan, 1833). Size distribution of samples collected from March to July, 2001. The numbers above the female bars are the number of females ovigerous.

    View in gallery
  • Chiromantes haematocheir (De Haan, 1833). Mean percentage moult increment for each size class of the intact specimens collected from September 2000 to July 2001. Number above each bar is number of moults sampled.

    View in gallery
  • Chiromantes haematocheir (De Haan, 1833). Percentage moult increment plotted against CW for intact specimens (solid circles, males; open circles, females) collected from September 2000 to July 2001.

    View in gallery
  • Chiromantes haematocheir (De Haan, 1833). Intermoult period plotted against CW for the seven marked crabs which were recaptured when moulting a second time.

    View in gallery


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 6 6 6
Full Text Views 2 2 2
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0