Reproductive strategies of sub-Antarctic lithodid crabs vary with habitat depth
We present the first fecundity and egg size data for three species of lithodid crab from Antarctic waters south of the Polar Front, caught in the fisheries operating around the island of South Georgia. In all species, fecundity was observed to increase with body size, but reproductive allocation was found to differ significantly between species. The highest relative fecundity (eggs−g body weight) and smallest egg size was found in Paralomis spinosissima, which is found in shallower waters, whereas the lowest relative fecundity values and largest eggs were recorded in the deeper living species, Neolithodes diomedeae. Evidence is presented that closely related sympatric species may employ quite different reproductive strategies that suit their depth distribution whilst indicating the overriding evolutionary adaptation of reproductive traits to temperature and food availability.
Authors: Morley, S.A. ORCID record for S.A. Morley, Belchier, M., Dickson, J., Mulvey, T.