Zoological Studies

Vol. 60, 2021

(update: 2021.02.20; 04.08)

Seasonal Changes in the Sexual Size Dimorphisms of the Chelipeds and Pleons of the Porcellanid Crab Petrolisthes japonicus

Katsuyuki Hamasaki* and Shigeki Dan


Department of Marine Biosciences, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Konan, Minato, Tokyo 108-8477, Japan. *Correspondence: E-mail: hamak@kaiyodai.ac.jp (Hamasaki)
E-mail: sdan@kaiyodai.ac.jp (Dan)

Received 5 August 2020 / Accepted 5 February 2021
Communicated by Benny K.K. Chan

Decapod crustaceans develop secondary sexual structures, such as large chelipeds for weaponry and/or display in males and a wider pleon for incubating eggs in females. These structures should be costly to produce and maintain; hence, the crustacean reproductive strategy might be adaptive to conserve energy for developing secondary sexual characteristics during a reproductive season. However, little is known about seasonal changes in the sexual size dimorphisms of the chelipeds and pleons of decapod crustaceans. Anomuran crabs from the family Porcellanidae exhibit a true crab-like body shape, with relatively large chelipeds for their body size and a well-developed pleon. They also show sexual size dimorphism (i.e., males with larger chelipeds and females with wider pleons); therefore, it was expected that seasonal changes in the sexual size dimorphisms of these organs would occur in porcellanid crabs. We tested this expectation using Petrolisthes japonicus, which is common on the intertidal cobble and boulder shores of the temperate and tropical regions of Japan. We employed allometric growth analyses of the cheliped and pleon dimensions of P. japonicus females and males collected over a year. Our analyses supported our expectation regarding the seasonal changes in the sexual size dimorphisms of the chelipeds and pleons in P. japonicus. Intersexual size dimorphism of the chelipeds and pleons was evident during the breeding season: females allocated more energy to pleon growth, while reducing cheliped growth, and investment in the pleon increased with increasing female body size, whereas males invested their energy in cheliped growth and investment in chelipeds increased with increasing male body size. In the nonbreeding season, females and males conserved energy by reducing the size of pleons and chelipeds relative to their respective body sizes. Our results highlighted the sex-specific and season-dependent resource allocation and reproductive strategies of porcellanid crabs.

Key words: Allometric growth, Life history, Reproductive strategy, Secondary sexual traits, Sexual maturity.

Citation: Hamasaki K, Dan S. 2021. Seasonal changes in the sexual size dimorphisms of the chelipeds and pleons of the porcellanid crab Petrolisthes japonicus. Zool Stud 60:18. doi:10.6620/ZS.2021.60-18.

Supplementary Materials: Fig. S1 | Table S1 | Table S2 | Table S3 | Table S4