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Hermaphroditism in brown shrimp: lessons from field data and modelling

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Hufnagl, M., Temming, A., & Daenhardt, A. (2010). Hermaphroditism in brown shrimp: lessons from field data and modelling. MARINE BIOLOGY, 157(9), 2097-2108. doi:10.1007/s00227-010-1477-6.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0018-2650-F
Abstract
This study was undertaken to further clarify whether the brown shrimp, Crangon crangon (Linnaeus 1758), is a gonochorist, a facultative or an obligate hermaphrodite. Juvenile shrimps were sampled from intertidal habitats along the German Wadden Sea coast with a push net and from a power plant water inlet to quantify the share of primary females. Length-based sex ratios were determined for about 27,000 individuals using external characteristics. Observed sex ratios were mainly female-biased, and also large males occurred regularly in the catch. This indicates that sex at hatch is not male as would be characteristic for an obligate protandric hermaphrodite and that not all male shrimps change sex. A cohort-based computer simulation, including sex-specific growth rates, mortality and seasonally varying recruitment, generated sex ratios comparable to the field. The observed decline in the proportion of males with increasing size can be explained solely by faster growth of females without involving hermaphroditism. Based on temperature-dependent growth and moult rates as well as length-specific numbers of eggs per female, the potential egg production of primary and secondary females was modelled, yielding contributions of secondary females of < 1%. Sex change in C. crangon has previously been observed and may be interpreted as an evolutionary relict of this species having evolved in a habitat characterized by lower population densities, lower predation levels and increased longevity compared to today's living conditions in North Sea coastal waters.