Reproductive biology of the spider crab Leucippa pentagona (Decapoda: Epialtidae), in Bustamante Bay, Argentina
Sizes at maturity, breeding period, and fecundity of the spider crab Leucippa pentagona in Bustamante Bay, Argentina (45.11°S, 66.56°W) were analyzed. Specimens were collected monthly between May 2006 and February 2008. The size at morphometric maturity was determined based on relative changes in cheliped length for males and abdomen width for females. The presence of spermatophores in the male deferent ducts and of eggs in the female abdomens were the criteria used to determine physiological maturity. The temporal variation of the proportion of ovigerous females was analyzed. Oocyte sizes in ovigerous females were measured to evaluate the occurrence of multiple spawnings. In males, the sizes at morphometric and physiological maturity were 28.05 and 16.7 mm carapace length (CL), respectively. In females, the size at morphological maturity was 18.5 mm CL, whereas size at physiological maturity was 18.25 CL. Ovigerous females were found between June and February in both years. Ovigerous females were found to have oocytes with advanced vitellogenesis. Fecundity was similar in both years and varied between 645 and 7114 eggs. The extended breeding period and the presence of vitellogenic oocytes in ovigerous females suggest the occurrence of two or more spawnings per reproductive season. Finally, the distribution range of this species in the Atlantic Ocean was extended from 43.3° to 45.11°S.