Journal Article

Increment at molt for the Norway lobster (<i>Nephrops norvegicus</i>) from the south coast of Portugal

M Castro, P Encarnação and P Henriques

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 60, issue 5, pages 1159-1164
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1054-3139(03)00119-X
Increment at molt for the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) from the south coast of Portugal

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The increment at molt for Nephrops norvegicus was studied with the objective of obtaining a model for prediction of post-molt size based on pre-molt size for the population from the south coast of Portugal. Wild animals were maintained in a specially prepared laboratory facility until they molted. Individual values of increment at molt were obtained and used to evaluate alternative models and estimate their parameters. Six alternative models, used previously by several authors to relate pre- and post-molt size, were modified so that increment at molt was the dependent variable and pre-molt size the independent variable. These included the linear relationship of the growth factor (GF) on pre-molt size, the Hiatt equation, post-molt size a power function of pre-molt size, the hyperbolic function, GF exponential function of pre-molt size and the Misra equation.

The analysis of the data showed that none of the models could be used to predict increment at molt for either sex. The distribution of the increment at molt was a random normal variable, with mean values not significantly different between sexes, 2.78 mm for males and 2.26 mm for females, variances 0.47 and 0.59, respectively.

An analysis of the models suggests that using post-molt size or the GF as dependent variables may lead to a misinterpretation of the dependency of these variables on pre-molt size. It is suggested that the increment at molt should be the variable of interest for predicting post-molt size. The choice of a mathematical formulation should, besides having biological meaning, have the capacity of expressing a true relationship between increment at molt and pre-molt carapace length, namely, be able to model several options for the increment at molt after maturity, including a steady increase of the increment through life, the stabilization of the increment after maturity or the decrease of the increment for larger sizes.

Keywords: increment at molt; growth; modeling; Norway lobster; Nephrops norvegicus; Portugal

Journal Article.  3403 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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