Population Dynamics and Life History Characteristics of the Blue Crabs Callinectes similis and C. sapidus in Bay Environments of the Northern Gulf of Mexico

Academic Article


  • Abstract. The population dynamics and life history characteristics of Callinectes similis and C. sapidus in the Mobile Bay‐Mississippi Sound estuarine system of the northern Gulf of Mexico were studied. We report that C. similis is numerically dominant in open‐bays, while C. sapidus is more abundant in shallow salt marshes. Juvenile C. similis recruit into both open‐bays and salt marshes, but juvenile C. sapidus primarily recruit into shallow salt marshes. Sex ratios of C. similis and C. sapidus were generally skewed towards higher proportions of males than females. Callinectes similis appears to have a life cycle similar to that of C. sapidus. Egg‐carrying C. similis migrate to higher salinity waters and presumably release larvae to nearshore shelf waters; following development, the larvae re‐invade estuaries as megalopae. Juvenile C. similis grow more slowly than C. sapidus. This may be attributable to reduced feeding rates. Marked differences in fecundity and reproductive effort were found between these species. Callinectes similis and C. sapidus, respectively, produced 2.4–5.5 times 105 and 2.1–3.2 times 106 eggs and invested 24–49 and 171–372 kJ per brood. Rhizocephalan barnacle infestation by Loxothylacus texanus was encountered in C. sapidus, while sympatric C. similis were free of this rhizocephalan parasite. Copyright © 1993, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved
  • Published In

  • Marine Ecology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hsueh P; McClintock JB; Hopkins TS
  • Start Page

  • 239
  • End Page

  • 257
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 3