Biochemical changes during the reproductive cycle of Aristeus antennatus (Crustacea: Decapoda) on the Portuguese south coast were investigated. Proximate chemical composition, lipid classes, fatty acid profiles, glycogen and cholesterol content were determined in the muscle, ovary and hepatopancreas (HP) during a period of one year (October 2000–September 2001). Gonadosomatic index (GSI) increased significantly in June and July and during the maturation process. Hepatosomatic index (HSI) also increased throughout the ovarian maturation. A positive correlation between lipid levels in the ovary and GSI (r=0.53, P<0.05) and HSI (r=0.30, P<0.05) was found. The muscle showed very low lipid levels and higher percentages of polar lipids. Higher proportions of neutral lipids, mainly triacylglycerols, were observed in both ovary and HP. Both ovarian and HP cholesterol increased with maturation. Protein and glycogen content in the muscle, ovary and HP did not vary as a function of ovary maturity stage. From the different tissues analysed, the glycogen is mainly stored in the HP and to a lesser extent in the muscle. In both ovary and HP the major fatty acids were 16:0, 18:1(n-7), 18:1(n-9), 20:5(n-3) and 22:6(n-3), and significant increase in the levels of monounsaturated fatty acids were observed in ovary during sexual maturation, which indicates these compounds as the major sources of energy during embryonic and early larval development.