We describe the reproductive period, fecundity, and average size at the onset of functional maturity of female Aegla franca, the northernmost distributed aeglid species. The reproductive period is markedly seasonal and takes place from May (austral mid-autumn) to August (late winter). Ovigerous females appear quite abruptly in the population by May, and this condition is observed in all adult females sampled regardless of their size. The average size at the onset of functional maturity in females, at which 50% of the females sampled during the reproductive period were considered adults, was 12.75 mm CL. The smallest post-ovigerous female measured 12.06 mm carapace length (CL). Mean fecundity (±S.D.) from 41 females bearing early and intermediate eggs was 129.1 ± 32.2 and corresponded to a mean female CL of 14.11 mm. The elliptical-shaped eggs exhibited significant increase in size along the development stages. The third pair of pleopods bore higher number of eggs than the others. Compiled information regarding the reproductive period reported for aeglids revealed an increase in the breeding period length with latitude. The reproductive period tends to be shorter in localities under larger rainfall variation and smaller temperature variability than in sites with opposite climate conditions. Eggs tend to be fewer in number and larger in size towards lower latitudes. We present an hypothesis that stream water velocity might act as a major selective pressure during the early life history of fluvial aeglids with direct effect on the reproductive pattern.
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Vol. 28 • No. 4