Chinese Acad Sci, Inst Hydrobiol, State Key Lab Freshwater Ecol & Biotechnol China, Donghu Expt Stn Lake Ecosyst, Wuhan 430072, Hubei, Peoples R China
Stocking experiments with Eriocheir sinensis were conducted in two small, shallow lakes to study its growth pattern in 1994-1997. For the initially immature crabs, carapace width (CW) increases from 21.2 +/- 0.4 mm (mean +/- s.e.) for females and 22.3 +/- 0.5 mm for males in January, to 65.4 +/- 0.5 mm for females and 66.9 +/- 0.6 mm for males in October. There is no significant difference in CW and carapace length (CL), although there is a large difference in body weight (BW) between sexes in every month from January to August when crabs are juvenile, however, there are significant differences in CW, CL. and BW between sexes after September when the crabs become sexually mature. The growth curve from January to October fits a logistic equation and may be expressed as CW = 75.7 (1 + exp (0.914 - 0.011t))(-1) for females, and CW = 77.5 (1 + exp (0.889 - 0.011t))-1 for males, where CW is in mm, t in days. For precocious crabs (reaching maturity by the first autumn, CW does not change much from January to July, which indicates that precocious crabs stop growing. Like juveniles, the precocious crabs show no differences in CW and CL, but do show a statistically significant difference in BW between sexes.