Fischer, S., Thatje, S. and Brey, T.
Early egg traits in Cancer setosus (Decapoda,
Brachyura): effects of temperature and female size.
Marine Ecology Progress Series, 377, . (doi:10.3354/meps07845).
Previous study on Cancer setosus (Molina, 1782) had shown that latitudinal changes in temperature control the number of annual egg masses. This study focused on the effects of pre-oviposition temperature and female size on egg-traits in C. setosus from Northern (Antofagasta 23ºS) and Central-Southern (Puerto Montt 41ºS) Chile. Blastula eggs produced in nature ranged in dry mass (DM) from 9.1 to 15.1 µg, in carbon (C) from 4.8 to 8.4 µg, in nitrogen (N) from 1.0 to 1.6 µg, in C:N ratio between 4.7 and 5.4, and in volume (V) between 152 and 276 mm3 x 10-4 per female. Blastula eggs from females caught early in the reproductive season in Puerto Montt (09/2006) were significantly higher in DM, C, N, and V than those of females caught two months later (11/2006), reflecting a seasonal increase in water temperature. In Puerto Montt “early” and “late” season blastula eggs were about 32% and 20% higher in DM, C, N, and V as eggs from Antofagasta, respectively. Subsequent egg masses produced in captivity in Puerto Montt followed this pattern of smaller eggs with lower DM, C, and N content at higher pre-oviposition temperatures. In Antofagasta no significant difference in DM, C, N and V between eggs produced in nature and subsequent eggs produced in captivity was found and all egg traits were significantly positively affected by maternal size. Reproductive plasticity in C. setosus helps explaining the species wide latitudinal distribution range.
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