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Aquatic Biology

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AB 8:61-69 (2009)  -  DOI:

Population structure and breeding pattern of the mangrove horseshoe crab Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda in Singapore

Lesley Cartwright-Taylor*, Julian Lee, Chia Chi Hsu

Nature Society of Singapore (NSS), 510 Geylang Road, #02-05 The Sunflower, Singapore 389466

ABSTRACT: The first year-long survey of the mangrove horseshoe crab Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda was conducted at the Mandai mudflats at Kranji in Singapore to determine if breeding is year round or seasonal and to provide qualitative and quantitative baseline data to monitor the health of the population. At spring tide from September 2007 to July 2008, volunteers collected horseshoe crabs along the exposed mudflats as the tide receded. The carapace width was measured, and the sex and breeding status of each individual were determined. The proportion of juveniles in different size groups varied in each month. In November and January, 25 and 30%, respectively, were 2 to 3 cm in width, while in June and July, 8 and 4%, respectively, were in this size group. The size cohorts showed recruitment to the smallest size classes from November to March and recruitment to the larger size classes from March to July. Juveniles less than 2 cm were not found in June, suggesting that there may be a rest period of low or no breeding activity from May to July resulting in none of the smallest sizes mid-year. Ratios of males to females varied from 0.85 to 1.78 throughout the year, and although pairs in amplexus were found year round, no spawning activity was seen. Males mature at about 8 cm while females may mature later at 10 cm. A mean of 33% growth during ecdysis in juveniles was observed, suggesting that juveniles of approximately 2 cm may moult about 5 more times before maturity.

KEY WORDS: Mangrove horseshoe crabs . Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda . Breeding patterns . Population structure . Growth . Sex ratio

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Cite this article as: Cartwright-Taylor L, Lee J, Hsu CC (2009) Population structure and breeding pattern of the mangrove horseshoe crab Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda in Singapore. Aquat Biol 8:61-69.

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