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A total of 19,485 lobsters were caught sites in the estuarine and coastal waters of New Hampshire from 1989 to 1992, and their size and sex were determined. The sex ratio of lobsters caught farthest from the coast, in Great Bay, was heavily skewed in favor in males. Sex ratios in other estuarine and river sites were also skewed toward males, and there was a tendency for the number of males per female to decline as one moved down the estuary toward the coast, where the sex ratio was nearly 1:1. The single offshore site was dominated by females, with about 0.6 males for each female. There were also seasonal trends in the sex ratios in the upper estuarine sties, where the number of males per female tended to decline from summer through autumn. In general, differences in the sex ratios between sites were those of primarily adult lobsters larger than 80 mm carapace length (CL). At all sites, the sex ratio of lobsters smaller than this size was close to 1:1, whereas in the upper estuary the mean sex ratio of lobsters greater than 80 mm CL was more than 14:1. These data, in conjunction with seasonal variations of sex ratios, suggest that differential movements of adult male and female lobsters is the primary cause of skewed sex ratios in the Great Bay Estuary.
Jackson Estuarine Laboratory, Biological Sciences
Journal of Shellfish Research
National Shellfisheries Association
Howell, W. H., W. H. Watson III. and S. H. Jury. 1999. Skewed sex ratio in an estuarine lobster (Homarus americanus) population. J. of Shellfish Research 18: 193-201.
© National Shellfisheries Association,1981