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Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences

Year: 2012  |  Volume: 15  |  Issue: 13  |  Page No.: 610 - 620

Horseshoe Crab, Tachypleus gigas (Müller, 1785) Spawning Population at Balok Beach, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia

A.N. Tan, A. Christianus, S. Shakibazadeh and P. Hajeb

Abstract

Local and regional decline of Asian horseshoe crabs has spurred a study on its spawning population at Balok Beach, Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia. This location was identified as spawning site due to the occurrence of horseshoe crab spawning pairs and nests. Size-frequency, length-weight relationships, sex ratio and epibiont infestation of Tachypleus gigas were studied. Instar stage was estimated based on prosomal width. Condition of the horseshoe crab carapace was reported. Visual search technique of horseshoe crab was conducted during high tide of new and full moons. Prosomal, opisthosomal and telson length and weight of each horseshoe crab were measured. Largest female was recorded with mean prosomal length and width of 154.4 and 246.9 mm, respectively. About 69.8% of the males belonged to size group of 151-200 mm and 53.3% of females were grouped into 201-250 mm. All individuals were of fourteenth to sixteenth instar stages. Sex ratio varied from 0.313 to 2.5 and attributed to commercial harvest and monsoon season. Sand sediment of study site showed 93% of fine sands with grain size ranged from 120 to 250 μm. Acorn and pedunculate barnacle, conical and flat slipper shells were found on the carapace of the specimens. Most males had damaged eyes and carapaces while females with broken telsons. Body damages of about 19.9% on the specimens were likely due to nearby fishing activities. Lack of satellite male indicated low spawning population. The finding of this study showed that the species is extremely threatened by human activities and coastal development.

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