Reproductive Biology in Blue Crabs


The influence of male mating history on male-male competition and female choice in mating associations in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus (Rathbun)

Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology

Volume 239, Issues 1. 2002. Pages 23 - 32

Matthew S. Kendall 1, and Thomas G. Wolcott 2

1 NOAA/NOS, Strategic Environmental Assessments Division, 1305 East-West Highway SSMC-4, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
2 Dept. of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, P.O. Box 8208, Raleigh, NC 27695-8208, USA


Male Callinectes sapidus allowed complete recovery of sperm resources and then mated a single time had significantly lower vas deferens weight than males allowed complete recovery of sperm resources but prevented from mating. In laboratory experiments, when a recently mated male (having low sperm volume) competed with a male that had not recently mated (having high sperm volume) for a single pubertal female, the female was just as likely to initiate pairing with the recently mated male as with a male that had not recently mated, despite possible reduction in her fertilization potential. At the end of trials in which stable pair formation occurred, recently mated males were paired significantly more often than males that had not recently mated. The combined effects of the lack of mate choice by females and high mating frequency of some males may result in many females in the population receiving low quantities of sperm.