Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 305–313 | Cite as

Population Biology and Breeding Period of the Sand-Bubbler Crab Dotilla Fenestrata (Brachyura: Ocypodidae) from Southern Mozambique

  • Carlos Litulo
  • Yolanda Mahanjane
  • Fernando L.M. Mantelatto


The sand-bubbler crab Dotilla fenestrata (Hilgendorf, 1869) is the most common and abundant brachyuran in the intertidal area of many East African sandy shores. Monthly sampling surveys were performed from March 2001 to February 2002 at Praia do Triunfo, Southern Mozambique. At each sampling survey, 15 stations (0.25 m2) were sampled to a depth sediment of 30 cm. Crabs were identified, sexed, and measured for carapace width (mm). A total of 2456 crabs were collected of which 1247 were males (mean ± sd: 5.36 ± 0.04 mm), 938 non-ovigerous females (5.03 ± 0.03 mm) and 271 ovigerous females (5.15 ± 0.06 mm). The overall size frequency distribution showed a unimodal pattern suggesting a stable population with continuous recruitment. A clear sexual dimorphism was observed, with males being larger than ovigerous females, which in turn, were larger than non-ovigerous females. The overall sex ratio did not differ from 1:1. The annual reproductive cycle of Dotilla fenestrata was continuous and ovigerous females were recorded throughout the year, with peaks of occurrence during the warmer months (February–August). Despite of this continuous cycle, few juveniles were observed during the study period. These observations and the maximum size attained by adults supports the hypothesis that for this burrowing crab, recruitment may occur in different habitat than that occupied by adults. However, the studied area is favourable for growth, since the analysed population attains sexual maturity in smaller sizes than that from close areas.


Dotilla fenestrata Juvenile recruitment Mozambique Ocypodid crabs Population biology Reproduction Sandy shores Sex ratio 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Litulo
    • 1
  • Yolanda Mahanjane
    • 1
  • Fernando L.M. Mantelatto
    • 2
  1. 1.Departamento de Ciências Biológicas (DCB), Faculdade de Ciências (FC)Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM)MaputoMozambique
  2. 2.Departamento de Biologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP)Universidade de São Paulo (USP)Ribeirão Preto Brazil

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