We investigated the sex differences in the spatiotemporal distribution, body length, and gut contents of adult Neocervinia itoi, the most abundant cerviniid harpacticoid in Sagami Bay, Japan. Two other cerviniid species, Cerviniopsis sp. A and Cervinia bradyi, were also examined for comparison. The density of N. itoi tended to be higher at stations in or below sea bights with steep slopes in the bay, although there was no correlation between their distribution and chloroplastic pigment equivalent (CPE) in the sediment. In general, the sex ratio was strongly biased toward females in this species; the overall mean percentage of males was approximately 23% of adults. The sex ratio seemed to fluctuate temporally, even at the same site, although this fluctuation was not statistically significant. Comparisons of body size and sex ratio between the three species suggest that sampling bias was not the only cause for the observed skewed sex ratio. Distinct sex differences were observed in gut contents of N. itoi. Detritus-like gut contents were clearly observed in the urosomes of almost all females, whereas few males had gut contents. This result suggests that males do not forage during the adult stage. This non-feeding habit of males may result in a shorter lifespan than that of females and may be one cause of the skewed sex ratio. It remains unknown, however, whether this is a general trend among cerviniid species.
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Vol. 29 • No. 2