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Reproductive biology and physico-chemical parameters of the African Giant Prawn, Macrobrachium vollenhovenii from a tropical freshwater river

B.O. Oben, P.M. Oben, N. Makoge, J. Makombu

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Int. J. Biosci.7(3), 31-41, September 2015

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12692/ijb/7.3.31-41


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The African giant prawn, Macrobrachium vollenhovenii is the most abundant and commercially viable of the prawn species in Cameroon. Preliminary investigation into its reproductive biology from a tropical freshwater environment (Yoke River), Southwest Cameroon was done from April 2011- March 2012. The study also examined the physic-chemical parameters that prevailed in the river during the cycle as a means to determining conditions necessary for their culture. 1679 specimens (955 males and 724 females) were captured using local baited bamboo and wire mesh traps. The overall sex ratio during sampling was 1:0.76 (male to female) which differed significantly (P˂0.05) from the expected ratio of 1:1. A total of 203 berried females carrying 6,060,256 eggs (mean: 29,854 ± 798.94) were examined. The fewest eggs were 6,847 and the most 58,866. Average egg volume increased significantly (P< 0.05) during embryogenesis from 0.041 to 0.065 mm3 (58.5% increase). Positive correlations existed between body weight, total length, carapace length, ovary weight and fecundity (0.94, 0.87, 0.85 and 0.97 respectively) with the strongest relationships occurring between fecundity and body weight (0.94) and fecundity and ovary weight (0.97). Spawning occurred during the peak rainy season (July – September) which corresponded generally with periods of lower temperature, higher pH and dissolved oxygen. These findings indicate that M. vollenhovenii can be successfully cultured in captivity. Efforts should be intensified to document and fully exploit its reproductive potential in other regions so that they could be bred as an African equivalent of the now widely cultured Macrobrachium rosenbergii.


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