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Reproductive Biology and Evidence for Hard-Female Mating in the Brachyuran Crab Thalamita sima (Portunidae)

Christopher P. Norman
Journal of Crustacean Biology
Vol. 16, No. 4 (Nov., 1996), pp. 656-662
Published by: Brill on behalf of The Crustacean Society
DOI: 10.2307/1549185
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1549185
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Reproductive Biology and Evidence for Hard-Female Mating in the Brachyuran Crab Thalamita sima (Portunidae)
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Abstract

Mating of hard-shelled intermolt females was observed in the portunid Thalamita sima H. Milne Edwards in the laboratory. During SCUBA samplings over a 20-month period, specimens in copula were seasonally observed, but no pre- or postmolt guarding was seen. Females sampled from pairs in copula (N = 3) in the field were in intermolt. Captive males copulated readily with intermolt ovigerous and nonovigerous females, copulation being brief (1-2 min, mean 98.6 ± 21.1 s, N = 11). Three females reared in isolation from immature instars after producing an initial sterile brood were able to mate while in the intermolt condition and subsequently produce fertile eggs. Field observations of the frequency of ovigerous females indicate that brooding occurs over an extended period, April-October, with females in the laboratory able to produce up to 7 broods. Reasons for this unusual mating strategy for a portunid are discussed in relation to possible predator interactions and the large number of broods in a single intermolt period in this species.

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