Studies on fecundity and spawning of blue crab (Callinectes Amnicola) in Cross River Estuary
Studies on identification of species, fecundity and development stages of blue crab, (Callinectes amnicola) were investigated at the Cross River Estuary between the months of December, 2018 and May, 2019. The parameters used for the study were gonadosomatic and hepatosomatic indices, egg diameter and counts. All measurements followed standard procedures. Gonadosomatic index was at its peak in December (88.9) and April (83.3). This coincided with the peak in egg size suggesting that spawning occurred twice within the period.
The low values of hepatosomatic index around December (1.20) and April (0.45) added to confirm the spawning in these months. The species spawns at a mean egg size of 17.55mm. The dimension of crabs examined were in the following range: carapace length 40.0 to 70.0mm, carapace width, 5.0 to 60mm and body weight 40.0 to 140.0g. The relationship between fecundity and weight of crab was significant (r = 0.295: p<0.05), indicating positive correlation. Absolute fecundity of the species ranged between 1,375 and 225,132 eggs. The smallest crab with egg had a carapace width of 39.5mm and weight of 46.9g. Spawning at this size seems to be a strategy adopted by the species to cope with exploitation pressure. The result of this study revealed that C. amnicola had a high reproductive potentials. Hence, adequate regulation is required to enhance sustainability of the species in the Cross River Estuary.