MEPS 424:157-168 (2011)  -  doi:10.3354/meps08982

Population demography and spatial distribution of the mantis shrimp Squilla biformis (Stomatopoda, Squillidae) from Pacific Costa Rica

Patricio Hernáez1,2,3,*, Tayler McLellan Clarke1, Catalina Benavides-Varela1,4, Fresia Villalobos-Rojas1, Jaime Nívia-Ruiz1, Ingo S. Wehrtmann1,4

1Unit for Fishery Research and Aquaculture (UNIP) of the Research Center for Marine Science and Limnology (CIMAR), University of Costa Rica, Costa Rica
2Ocean Museum (Museo del Mar), University Arturo Prat, Casilla 121 Iquique, Chile
3Laboratory of Bioecology and Crustacean Systematics, Department of Biology, FFCLRP, University of Sao Paulo, Posgraduate Program Av. Bandeirantes 3900, 14040-901, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil
4School of Biology, University of Costa Rica, 2060 San José, Costa Rica

ABSTRACT: The mantis shrimp Squilla biformis is the most conspicuous and abundant stomatopod captured during benthic trawling operations off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Due to its abundance, this species is considered a potential fisheries resource for the region. Nevertheless, its life history is practically unknown. The present study describes the population demography, spatial distribution and behaviour of S. biformis from Pacific Costa Rica. The population was principally composed of individuals between 20 and 32 mm carapace length (CL), forming 2 age groups. Individuals of 35 to 45 mm CL and >45 mm CL were poorly represented. We assume that larger individuals are more frequent at greater depths (probably on the continental slope), thus out of the reach of the fishing vessels used in our study. Males outnumbered females, as observed in other stomatopods. Visual evidence of their behaviour demonstrates that the adults in this species possess a benthic and pelagic life style. Largest numbers of individuals (50% of the total) were found between 240 to 260 m, the same bathymetric range that was historically occupied by commercial shrimps. This shift may be related to intense fishing activities. We observed a synchronized moulting of females and males during less luminous (third and fourth) lunar phases. The evolutionary development of a group moulting system could confer advantages to S. biformis in comparison to other stomatopods whose moulting process is individual and asynchronous.


KEY WORDS: Population biology · Moulting cycle · Behaviour · Central America · Shrimp fishery


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Cite this article as: Hernáez P, McLellan Clarke T, Benavides-Varela C, Villalobos-Rojas F, Nívia-Ruiz J, Wehrtmann IS (2011) Population demography and spatial distribution of the mantis shrimp Squilla biformis (Stomatopoda, Squillidae) from Pacific Costa Rica. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 424:157-168

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