Growth and molting of golden king crabs (Lithodes aequispinus) in the Eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska

Growth and molting of golden king crabs (Lithodes aequispinus) in the Eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska

L.J. Watson, D. Pengilly, and S.F. Blau

Growth and molting of golden king crabs (Lithodes aequispinus) in the Eastern Aleutian Islands, AlaskaThis is part of Crabs in Cold Water Regions: Biology, Management, and Economics
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Description

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) tagged and released 7,621 male and 2,141 female golden king crabs, Lithodes aequispinus, during July-August 1997 in the eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Tagged crabs were recovered in each of four subsequent commercial fisheries, from 1997 to 2000. We estimated inter-annual growth in carapace length and inter-annual molting probabilities of 1,576 recaptured males and explore growth, molting, and changes in the reproductive condition from 83 recaptured females. Estimated growth increments in carapace length in one molt (14.5 mm) and two molts (30.7 mm) for males in this study were consistent with each other, and indicate that males within the size range examined grow about 15 mm per molt. Growth of females is smaller than that for males and tends to decrease with size and maturity.

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