AB 21:85-92 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00572

Problems associated with a lipofuscin extraction method used to age blue crabs Callinectes sapidus cultured in Florida, USA

Claire E. Crowley1,*, Ryan L. Gandy1, Kendra L. Daly2, Edward S. Van Vleet

1Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, 100 Eighth Ave SE, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, USA
2University of South Florida, College of Marine Science, 140 Seventh Ave S, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The blue crab Callinectes sapidus is an ecologically and economically important component of marine and estuarine ecosystems of the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Current stock assessments lack a clear understanding of the age structure of blue crab populations in Florida (USA). Blue crabs and other crustaceans are especially difficult to age because of the complex nature of their discrete, rather than continuous, growth patterns. Chesapeake Bay researchers developed a method of aging blue crabs by assaying the aging pigment lipofuscin extracted from eyestalk nerve tissue. Here we investigated the usefulness of that method in determining the age of blue crabs inhabiting Florida waters. Assays of a wild-caught, young-of-the-year cohort that was pond-raised revealed a negative linear trend in lipofuscin indices over an 18 mo culture period. Assays of a tank-raised cohort of captive-bred crabs of known age also showed no relationship between the lipofuscin index and age over an 11 mo period. These results suggest that lipofuscin assays, as used in the Chesapeake Bay populations, are not useful in determining the age of blue crabs in Florida waters. Further study is warranted to determine how the procedure might be modified for Florida blue crab populations.


KEY WORDS: Callinectes sapidus · Blue crab · Aging · Lipofuscin


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Cite this article as: Crowley CE, Gandy RL, Daly KL, Van Vleet ES (2014) Problems associated with a lipofuscin extraction method used to age blue crabs Callinectes sapidus cultured in Florida, USA. Aquat Biol 21:85-92. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00572

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