Fisheries science
Print ISSN : 0919-9268
Reproductive cycle and fecundity of Chionoecetes japonicus (Brachyura: Majidae) off the coast of Central Honshu, Sea of Japan
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2000 Volume 66 Issue 5 Pages 940-946


Chionoecetes japonicus is one of the most important commercially fished species in the Sea of Japan. In spite of its economic importance, only limited information on reproduction of this species was hitherto available. Although the reproductive cycle is one of the most important and basic aspects for management, two contrasting opinions have emerged so far: one suggesting a biennial reproductive cycle and the other suggesting a 4-year reproductive cycle. Females of C. japonicus were collected in baited crab pots set on the bottom at depths of 800-1000 m off Jhoetsu, Central Honshu, the Sea of Japan, on nine occasions from April 1993 to April 1994. Carapace width, brood developmental stage and ova size were estimated and analyzed quantitatively. A size frequency histogram showed that most females matured at a modal size of 68.1 mm carapace width, while a small number of crabs matured at modal sizes of either 58.6 or 77.0 mm. Almost all females were multiparous as all but one of the 300 females examined in March had new and/or old ejaculates in their spermathecae. Most multiparous females hatch their larvae and spawn in March and April. Quantitative analysis of ovaries and broods indicated that C. japonicus has a biennial reproductive cycle. The number of eggs in broods varied widely ranging from 0-60 800 eggs, and brood size was correlated with maternal size (P<0.01).

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