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Abstract

Populations of female grass shrimps (Palaemonetes pugio and P. vulgaris) were sampled from five coastal embayments in Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia (Delmarva) and compared with respect to reproductive and life history attributes. We observed interspecific differences in timing of reproduction, carapace length, ratio of carapace length to total body length, body weight, clutch weight, clutch size, and egg volume. Onset of reproduction in P. vulgaris lagged behind P. pugio. Although there was no difference in the relationship between clutch size and carapace length for the two species, carapace length/total body length in P. pugio was greater than that in P. vulgaris. A multivariate analysis of variance indicated significant differences in carapace length, clutch weight, body weight, clutch size, and egg volume attributable to effects of species, population, and interactions between them. At all sites, P. pugio produced larger eggs than P. vulgaris. Although the two species did not differ in reproductive effort, both species exhibited increases in reproductive effort with latitude. Clutch size also tended to increase with latitude for both species. In populations where both species were abundant, adult females of P. pugio were longer and heavier and produced heavier egg masses comprised of fewer, larger eggs.

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