AB 20:145-153 (2014)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00555

Current fishing practices may induce low risk of sperm limitation in female swimming crab Portunus trituberculatus in the East China Sea

Fujun Xuan1,*, Weibing Guan2,*, Chengman Bao2, Fenghua Tang3, Boping Tang1, Chunlin Zhou

1Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Coastal Wetland Bioresources and Environmental Protection, Yancheng Teachers University, Yancheng, Jiangsu 224051, PR China
2Key Laboratory of Shanghai Education Commission for Oceanic Fisheries Resources Exploitation, Shanghai Fisheries University, Shanghai 200090, PR China
3Key Laboratory of East China Sea & Oceanic Fishery Resources Exploitation and Utilization, Ministry of Agriculture, East China Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Shanghai 200090, PR China
*Corresponding authors: ;

ABSTRACT: Potential sperm limitation of the swimming crab Portunus trituberculatus was examined during the reproductive season from September 2006 to April 2007 in the East China Sea. We documented developmental variations between the spermatheca and ovary and distinguished these into 5 stages. We counted the number of stored sperm in paired spermathecae and found that more than 50% of sperm initially received during mating disappeared as the sperm plug degenerated; around 1.70 × 108 were used for final fertilization, and there was significant correlation between the final number of stored sperm and female carapace width. Lastly, using knowledge of the reproductive characteristics of P. trituberculatus, we calculated potential sperm:egg ratios of 221:1 or 153:1 for the first brood, and 55:1 or 38:1 for lifetime broods—either from the perspective of a fishery resource assessment or from the perspective of seed production. From comparison to sperm:egg ratios of Callinectes sapidus (for lifetime broods this ranges from 10:1 to 42:1), we can infer that female P. trituberculatus in the East China Sea may be at low risk of sperm limitation under current fishing practices. This may be the result of greater fishing mortality of females, causing an increase in the operational sex ratio. The present study improves our knowledge of sperm limitation in brachyurans as fishing management in China is non-selective, which differs from other exploited decapod crustacean species around the world.

KEY WORDS: Portunus trituberculatus · Sperm limitation · Non-selective fishing · East China Sea

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Cite this article as: Xuan F, Guan W, Bao C, Tang F, Tang B, Zhou C (2014) Current fishing practices may induce low risk of sperm limitation in female swimming crab Portunus trituberculatus in the East China Sea. Aquat Biol 20:145-153. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00555

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