Eleven expeditions were undertaken to the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago to study the reproductive biology of Grapsus grapsus, providing additional information on limb mutilation and carapace colour. MATURE software was used to estimate morphological maturity, while gonadal analyses were conducted to estimate physiological maturity. The puberty moult took place at larger size in males (51.4 mm of carapace length) than in females (33.8 mm), while physiological maturity occurred at a similar size in males (38.4 mm) and in females (33.4 mm). Above 50 mm, the proportion of red males increased in the population, indicating that functional maturity is also related to colour pattern. Small habitat and high local population density contributed to the high rate of cannibalism. The low diversity of food items, absence of predators of large crabs and high geographic isolation are the determinants of unique behavioural and biological characteristics observed in the G. grapsus population.
The reproductive biology of Scyllarides deceptor was studied along the southern Brazilian coast (278S 488W) from December 2002 to December 2003. Samples were collected monthly at Xavier Island, where animals were caught and marked. Fecundity and egg size were estimated from ovigerous females caught also in two adjacent islands, Arvoredo and Aranhas. A total of 98 females was recorded at Xavier Island during the sampling period, 24 of these were recaptured and presented time-at-liberty ranging from 14 to 297 days. Ovigerous females were observed during spring and summer, with the moulting period lasting from late winter to spring. Size at sexual maturity was assessed from 66 females caught during the breeding season and estimated in 85.33 mm of carapace length (CL). Mean fecundity of S. deceptor was estimated in 191,262 eggs (+17,811, SE) for females, on average, 94.74 mm long (+1.86 mm SE) (CL). Fecundity was significantly related to CL (R 2 ¼ 0.90) Mean egg size was 0.67 mm (+0.005 mm SE) and did not correlate significantly to CL (P ¼ 0.78). The rocky bottom of Xavier Island was favourable for reproduction, presenting shelter and foraging grounds for the ovigerous females. For management purposes, our results suggest the closure of the S. deceptor fishery from November to January and the capture-size of females to be restricted to animals larger than 90 mm (CL).
Temporal, spatial and diel variation in the distribution and abundance of organisms is an inherent property of ecological systems. The present study describes these variations and the composition of decapod larvae from the surface waters of St Paul's Rocks. The expeditions to the archipelago were carried out in April, August and November 2003, March 2004 and May 2005. Surface plankton samples were collected during the morning and dusk periods, inside the inlet and in increasing distances around the archipelago (~150, 700 and 1500 m). The identification resulted in 51 taxa. Seven species, six genera and larvae of the families Pandalidae and Portunidae were identified for the first time in the area. The mean larval density varied from zero to 150.2±69.6 individuals 100 m−3 in the waters surrounding the archipelago and from 1.7±3.0 to 12,827±15,073 individuals 100 m−3 inside the inlet. Significant differences on larval density were verified between months and period of the day, but not among the three sites around the archipelago. Cluster and non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis indicated that the decapod larvae community was divided into benthic and pelagic assemblages. Indicator species analysis (ISA) showed that six Brachyura taxa were good indicators for the inlet, while three sergestids were the main species from the waters around the archipelago. These results suggest that St Paul's Rocks can be divided into two habitats, based on larval composition, density and diversity values: the inlet and the waters surrounding the archipelago.
Ichthyoplankton is an essential component of pelagic ecosystems, and environmental factors play an important role in determining its distribution. We have investigated simultaneous latitudinal and cross-shelf gradients in ichthyoplankton abundance to test the hypothesis that the large-scale distribution of fish larvae in the South Brazil Shelf is associated with water mass composition. Vertical plankton tows were collected between 21°27′ and 34°51′S at 107 stations, in austral late spring and early summer seasons. Samples were taken with a conical-cylindrical plankton net from the depth of chlorophyll maxima to the surface in deep stations, or from 10 m from the bottom to the surface in shallow waters. Salinity and temperature were obtained with a CTD/rosette system, which provided seawater for chlorophyll-a and nutrient concentrations. The influence of water mass on larval fish species was studied using Indicator Species Analysis, whereas environmental effects on the distribution of larval fish species were analyzed by Distance-based Redundancy Analysis. Larval fish species were associated with specific water masses: in the north, Sardinella brasiliensis was found in Shelf Water; whereas in the south, Engraulis anchoita inhabited the Plata Plume Water. At the slope, Tropical Water was characterized by the bristlemouth Cyclothone acclinidens. The concurrent analysis showed the importance of both cross-shelf and latitudinal gradients on the large-scale distribution of larval fish species. Our findings reveal that ichthyoplankton composition and large-scale spatial distribution are determined by water mass composition in both latitudinal and cross-shelf gradients.
ABSTRACT. The present paper aims to describe the temporal and spatial distribution of the composition and abundance of Decapoda larvae in the shallow waters around Arvoredo Marine Biological Reserve. Stomatopod occurrence is also discussed. Plankton samples were collected at five sites around the Arvoredo Island every two months for one year from May, 2002 to April, 2003. Thirty-nine morphotypes, 11 genus and 4 species (Artemesia longinaris Bate, 1888, Hexapanopeus schmitii Rathbun, 1930, Menippe nodifrons Stimpson, 1859 and Pleoticus muelleri Bate, 1888) were identified, among them only two morphotypes of Stomatopoda larvae, and the remainder Decapoda larvae. Brachyuran zoeae were the most abundant group and they were well represented by Portunidae and Xanthidae zoeae. Lucifer sp. and Caridea zoeae were the most abundant non-brachyuran taxa. Decapod larvae were observed to occur at all sampling sites, however the spatial distribution demonstrated a general tendency to greater abundance and diversity at the southern sites of the Island. Decapoda and Stomatopoda larvae occurred throughout the year, showing that reproduction is continuous, but that larval input in planktonic community was significantly higher during autumn and spring.KEYWORDS. Decapods, crustaceans, meroplankton, distribution, Brazil.
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