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Keywords:

  • Idotea ;
  • Mediterranean lagoon;
  • population dynamics;
  • reproductive activity

Abstract

The population dynamics and life cycle of Idotea balthica basteri (Pallas, 1772) were studied at the Menzel Jemil (lagoon of Bizerte, Tunisia) based on monthly samples taken from October 2009 to September 2011. The presence of juveniles and gravid females throughout the sampling period showed that this species exhibits continuous reproduction. Sexual differentiation occurs in approximately 43–59 days. Females took 88–160 days (3–5.5 months) to reach sexual maturation, and males took 102 days (3.5 months). The fecundity and fertility values exhibited a great variation in the number of eggs and embryos or mancae inside the marsupium which was correlated with the length of the gravid females. The sex ratio underwent fluctuations throughout the sampling period but was always in favour of females. Size frequency distributions were analysed recognizing 24 cohorts during the sampling period. Six cohorts were identified in October 2009 and 18 cohorts in November 2009–September 2011. Among these latter cohorts, nine were tracked till they disappeared. The minimum average size of new cohorts ranged from 1.92 ± 0.31 to 2.97 ± 0.26 mm and the maximum values ranged from 12.83 ± 0.96 to 19.23 ± 0.56 mm. Life span was estimated at 10–14 months. I. balthica basteri, in the lagoon of Bizerte, is a semi-annual species with iteroparous females, and a bivoltine life cycle that produces two generations per year.