Population structure of the flecked box crab, Hepatus pudibundus (Herbst 1785) in Northern Rio de Janeiro State, Southeastern Brazil

The present study describes the first information about the population structure of the flecked box crab, Hepatus pudibundus, in Northern Rio de Janeiro State (21° 30' and 21° 50' S). From April 2006 to March 2007 monthly samples (n = 12) were conducted using a bottom trawl net aboard local shrimp fishery boats. The specimens were classified by gender and maturity status, measured and weighed. In total, 523 individuals of H. pudibundus were captured: 299 (57.2%) males and 224 (42.8%) females. In general, the sex ratio was constant over the studied period, with slight predominance of males. The adult specimens were more numerous than the juveniles' ones. Male specimens were larger and heavier than females, with averages of 46,8 ± 9,1 mm in carapace width and 23,4 ± 13,2 g in weight, compared to 45,3 ± 6,6 mm and 18,8 ± 7,9 g for females. The relationships between weight and carapace width were adjusted by the equations W = 0.0002.CW I3.0391 (R2 = 0.97) (males) and W = 0.0003.CW I2.8734 (R2 = 0.94) (females). The species H. pudibundus has little significance to the regional shrimp fishery, but this study indicates its regular occurrence in coastal waters from Northern Rio de Janeiro State.

Brachyura; sex-ratio; biometry; artisanal fishery; Rio de Janeiro State

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