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Neurolipofuscin Is a Measure of Age in Panulirus argus, the Caribbean Spiny Lobster, in Florida

Kerry E. Maxwell, Thomas R. Matthews, Matt R. J. Sheehy, Rodney D. Bertelsen and Charles D. Derby
Biological Bulletin
Vol. 213, No. 1 (Aug., 2007), pp. 55-66
DOI: 10.2307/25066618
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25066618
Page Count: 12
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Neurolipofuscin Is a Measure of Age in Panulirus argus, the Caribbean Spiny Lobster, in Florida
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Abstract

Accurate age estimates for Panulirus argus, the commercially important Caribbean spiny lobster, would greatly enhance life history and population analyses. Most age approximations of P. argus are based on size and growth data, but size is generally considered a poor proxy for age of crustaceans in the field because of numerous environmental, density-dependent, and fishery-related factors. An established technique for aging crustaceans, employing histologically determined lipofuscin content in the nervous system, was investigated using known-age lobsters reared in the laboratory at ambient temperatures. We verified the presence of lipofuscin in eyestalk neural tissue by using autofluorescence and Sudan black staining and described its distribution in cell cluster A of the hemiellipsoid body. Neurolipofuscin accumulated with age; the overall trend was linear with indications of seasonal oscillation, whereas growth began to approach an asymptote after 3 years. Differences in the neurolipofuscin concentrations in the two eyestalks from the same animal were statistically insignificant. There was also no difference in the neurolipofuscin concentrations of males and females of the same age. The present data suggest a maximum potential lifespan for P. argus of about 20 years. These results also suggest that the neurolipofuscin technique will be valuable for estimating age of wild-caught specimens of P. argus.

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