Performance of Mud Crab
Broodstock held atBribie Island Aquaculture Research Centre
, Tom Asakawa
and Alan Blackshaw
Reproductive performance of 104 female mud crabs was assessed. A large degree of variabilitywas found in a range of characteristics related to maturation, spawning and hatching. Seasonalinfluences were detected for a number of characteristics with highly significant differences infecundity, time to spawn, egg size, zoea size and proportion of non-viable zoea. Unilateral eyestalk ablated crabs produced larger eggs and had a lower production of non-viable eggs. Highly signifi-cant relationships were found within the group of measured characteristics indicating the potentialfor developing a model of reproductive performance.
areas where the larval culture of mud crab,
spp., is conducted, the source of eggs relies ongonadal maturation and spawning of broodstock incaptivity. Typically, sub-adult or adult female crabsare collected from the wild and maintained in tanksor ponds until ovulation occurs. Male crabs are onlyrequired if sub-adult females are used since matingoccurs only at the maturity moult and sperm are sub-sequently stored for long periods by the female (DuPlessis 1971).Due to the migratory behaviour of female mudcrabs in the wild (Hill 1994), knowledge of spawning,brooding and hatching of eggs under natural con-ditions is lacking. Most information on theseprocesses therefore comes from crabs that are held incaptive conditions for the purposes of aquacultureresearch and production.Mud crab culture research, particularly larvalrearing, has been conducted at the QueenslandDepartment of Primary Industries, Bribie IslandAquaculture Research Centre (BIARC) for a numberof years. Mature female crabs obtained from thelocal environment have been used as the source of eggs for the research. In order to develop the bestmanagement practices for captive
brood-stock, detailed records have been kept of individualcrab reproductive performance since 1994.Quality of newly hatched larvae or their inherentviability is regarded as a significant factor influ-encing the success of hatchery production. Very littleis known of the factors that influence larval qualityfor this species and attempts to consistently reducethe variability and maximise quality of larvae havebeen largely unsuccessful. If readily measuredcriteria could be used to predict the subsequent per-formance of larvae it would improve the consistencyof production and reduce the resources expended onlarvae of inadequate viability.The objective of this investigation is firstly, todetermine management practices that promote theproduction of good quality larvae, and secondly, toformulate a model that can be used as a managementtool for the selection of broodstock, eggs or larvaefor hatchery production purposes. The work detailedhere is the first step towards this objective and aimsto determine factors influencing larval productionand the existence and extent of interactions amongbiological characteristics of the larval productionprocess.
Materials and Methods
All mud crabs used at BIARC are of the species
(Keenan et al. 1998). They werecaught using baited traps from the Redland Bayregion (27 ° 20
S, 153 ° 15
E) of Moreton Bay nearBrisbane, Australia. All crabs collected were
Bribie Island Aquaculture Research Centre, QueenslandDepartment of Primary Industries, PO Box 2066, BribieIsland, Qld 4057, Australia