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1 August 2004 AN INVESTIGATION OF THE SOURCES OF VARIABILITY IN AMERICAN LOBSTER (HOMARUS AMERICANUS) EGGS AND LARVAE: FEMALE SIZE AND REPRODUCTIVE STATUS, AND INTERANNUAL AND INTERPOPULATION COMPARISONS
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Abstract

From 1997 to 2001, the effects of female size (cephalothorax length [CL]) and reproductive status on egg size (diameter, dry weight) and larva CL at hatching were investigated in two Homarus americanus populations in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Anticosti) and one at Grand Manan (Bay of Fundy), Canada. The estimated size at 50% maturity was used to identify small (likely primiparous) females for each population. Multifactor, mixed-hierarchical ANOVA models were used to investigate the variability of eggs and stage I CL among years and populations. In all comparisons, the main source of variability in the egg and stage I larva size was females (within and among). Nevertheless, for the Îles-de-la-Madeleine population in each year except 2001, the mean stage I larva sizes from small (CL < 79 mm), probably primiparous females were significantly smaller (P < 0.0085) than the mean larva sizes from larger females. However, female CL per se explained very little of the variance in mean larval size at hatching (r2 = 0.23, P < 0.05 and r2 = 0.12, P = 0.22 in 2000 and 2001, respectively, when the entire size range of reproductive females was considered). Hatching larvae tend to be smaller in primiparous females or females maturing at a small size; however, over the entire size range of reproductive females, larval size at hatching is almost independent of female size (CL). It is as if, above a minimum viable size, there is a constant small range of egg/larval sizes produced in H. americanus. Conservation measures dealing with the imposition of a minimum legal size may be a means of increasing the number of females that will spawn at least once or twice within a population. However, the impacts of first-time spawning on quality of eggs and larvae need to be fully investigated to assess the response of the population's egg production and recruitment potential of this measure.

Patrick Ouellet and François Plante "AN INVESTIGATION OF THE SOURCES OF VARIABILITY IN AMERICAN LOBSTER (HOMARUS AMERICANUS) EGGS AND LARVAE: FEMALE SIZE AND REPRODUCTIVE STATUS, AND INTERANNUAL AND INTERPOPULATION COMPARISONS," Journal of Crustacean Biology 24(3), 481-495, (1 August 2004). https://doi.org/10.1651/C-2467
Received: 24 October 2003; Accepted: 1 April 2004; Published: 1 August 2004
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