Although populations of the coconut crab, Birgus latro, have declined in the tropical Indo-Pacific region, insufficient knowledge exists for the management of this species. We investigated the growth of the northernmost coconut crab population, located at Ocean Expo Park, Okinawa, southern Japan, using a mark—recapture method based on the identification of individual carapace grooving patterns. Of the 485 crabs photographed (264 males, 221 females; 14.3–68.8 mm thoracic length [ThL]), 64 males and 62 females were recaptured (recapture rate 26%). The liberty period ranged from two to 2384 days. The annual data indicated that most crabs molted during winter, except for juveniles and crabs near the maximum size. Using the GROTAG program, the asymptotic ThL (L∞) was estimated as 80.72 and 49.89 mm for males and females, respectively. The Brody growth coefficient (K) was 0.063 for both sexes. The growth curves from these parameters showed that males grew larger than females because of a difference in growth speed. Longevity was estimated at approximately 50 years for both sexes. The growth data obtained in the present study, which are the most precise gathered for the coconut crab to date, can be compared with the results of studies performed in other regions.
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Vol. 32 • No. 3