Reproductive Ecology, Fecundity, and Elemental Composition of Eggs in Brown Crab Cancer pagurus in the Isle of Man

Fikret Öndes, Michel J. Kaiser*, Lee G. Murray, Gabriela Torres

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The brown crab is an important fishery resource in northern Europe. Understanding factors that affect fecundity in this species is complicated by the fact that ovigerous females enter traps infrequently. This study aimed to understand factors that affect brown crab fecundity and egg quality for crabs sampled from the waters around the Isle of Man. The size-fecundity relationship for the Isle of Man matched closely with those published for other geographical areas where a fishery exists for this species. Ovigerous crabs varied in size from 134 to 215 mm carapace width and each individual carried an estimated 0.4-3.0 million eggs. Fecundity was not affected by factors such as sampling season, location, loss of chelae, or black spot disease. Egg volume was independent of the number of eggs per batch or female body size. Egg volume was reduced significantly in crabs that had lost chelae. Egg dry weight, C and N composition did not vary with body size or any other explanatory factors such as chelal loss or the occurrence of black spot disease. Although the importance of the effect of claw loss on egg volume remains unclear, it may be an important consideration in fisheries in which the landing of claws is permitted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-547
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Shellfish Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Cancer pagurus
  • chela loss
  • Crustacea
  • egg size
  • elemental composition
  • fecundity
  • reproductive ecology
  • sustainable fisheries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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