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Relative growth and reproduction in Achelous spinicarpus (Crustacea: Portunidae) on the south-eastern continental shelf of Brazil

  • André L. Pardal-Souza (a1) and Marcelo A.A. Pinheiro (a1)


This investigation aimed to study the relative growth, morphological sexual maturity and fecundity of the swimming crab Achelous spinicarpus in a tropical region, on the south-eastern continental shelf of Brazil (25°S). Biometry of all specimens was conducted, including measurements of the cephalothorax, cheliped, abdomen and gonopods. Relative growth was described based on the equation for allometry (y = axb), and size at sexual maturity was determined from inflections in relations involving the cheliped, gonopods (males), and abdomen (females), as dependent variables, related to the cephalothorax width (independent variable). Fecundity was estimated by the gravimetric method. The relations of the length of the chelar propodus and carpal spine to the carapace width without the lateral spines (CW) showed positive allometry in both sexes, with a significant variation in the constant ‘b’ for males between the developmental stages (juvenile and adult) and the size at maturity estimated at 37 mm CW. In females, the abdomen was most appropriate for the estimate of morphological maturity, which occurred at a smaller size (32 mm CW), with a change in the growth pattern between the stages, passing from isometric (juveniles) to positive allometric (adults). The gonopods also showed different growth rates between developmental stages, in synchrony with the variables of the cheliped. Mean fecundity for the species was 53,984 eggs, with a positive correlation between the number of eggs exteriorized and the size of the female; the equations allowed interconversion between these variables, due to the adjustment of the power function (r2 ≥ 86%).


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: M.A.A. Pinheiro, Praça Infante Dom Henrique, s/nº-Pq. Bitam, CEP 11.330-900, São Vicente (SP), Brazil email:


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Relative growth and reproduction in Achelous spinicarpus (Crustacea: Portunidae) on the south-eastern continental shelf of Brazil

  • André L. Pardal-Souza (a1) and Marcelo A.A. Pinheiro (a1)


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