A first fecundity study of the female snow crab Chionoecetes opilio Fabricius, 1788 (Decapoda: Brachyura: Oregoniidae) of the newly established population in the Barents Sea
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Crustacean Biology. 2019, 39 (4), 485-492. 10.1093/jcbiol/ruz039
The snow crab Chionoecetes opilioFabricius, 1788 is a newly established species in the Barents Sea. Since the first individuals were recorded in 1996, the population has increased and a fishery was initiated in 2012. Mature female snow crab caught in the central Barents Sea were investigated with regards to fecundity. Ovigerous females (N = 185) ranged from 48 to 100 mm carapace width (CW). Fecundity was 15,000–184,000 eggs per female with 100% clutch fullness, and was positively related to body size (fecundity = 0.233 * CW2.944) consistent with relationships described for other snow crab populations. Eight females had less than 100% clutch fullness, two of which had only 10% clutch fullness along with an old shell, indicating senescence. Dry egg weight was on average 0.065 mg and was hardly affected by CW. Females across all sizes invest similarly in individual eggs, and potential size-dependent differences in fitness are more related to the number of eggs produced than to the investment into individual eggs. We conclude that the fecundity-at-size of females is overall comparable to that of other populations, although the presence of large females results in high maximum individual fecundity estimates.