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Volume 44 - Number 1 - 2009


Molt cycle stages of the paddle crab Ovalipes trimaculatus (de Hann, 1833) based on observations of the external morphology

Javier Alvarez1, Christian Véliz1 y Jaime Meruane1

1Departamento de Acuicultura, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar, Universidad Católica del Norte. Casilla 117, Coquimbo, Chile




The knowledge of molt cycle in crustaceans is important from the physiological point of view and because it can be used in aquaculture and fisheries management. Ten specimens of Ovalipes trimaculatus were held in laboratory under controlled temperature, photoperiod and feeding. A photographic monitoring of the molt cycle was done. We distinguished three external corporal zones that showed significant changes (ecdysial suture, dactyl and base tissues of fifth pereopods). This allowed us to distinguish a scale of five stages of molt cycle. Each stage was described mentioning the evolution of morphological changes from postmolt to ecdysis. The average duration of molt cycle was 76.4 ± 3.5 days. The applied methodology causes minimal stress to crabs, thus allowing to observe directly the external morphological changes that occur in corporal zones of crustaceans


Key words: Ecdysis, intermolt, crustaceans



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