Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Reproductive biology of spider crab females (Maja brachydactyla) off the coast of Asturias (north-west Spain)

L.  García-Flórez a1 and P.  Fernández-Rueda a1
a1 Centro de Experimentación Pesquera, Consejería de Medio Rural y Pesca, Principado de Asturias, Avenida Príncipe de Asturias, s/n, 33212-Gijón, Asturias, Spain


The first results of the females reproductive cycle of Maja brachydactyla (Braquiura: Majidae) off the coast of Asturias (north-west Spain) are presented. Mean size of mature females was 133·4 mm (N=1022) in 1997 and 125·0 mm (N=942) in 1998. Only one cohort is exploited each fishing season. This cohort passed through the terminal moult the year before and recruited in to the fishery beginning in June. The breeding cycle off the coast of Asturias begins in December and ends in November the following year. Results from this study indicate that females produce 3–4 broods per year in these waters, which is the highest reported number for M. brachydactyla. The results are discussed in terms of their importance for management of the fishery.

(Received May 18 2000)
(Accepted June 27 2000)