Growth of the octopus (Octopus maya) off Yucatan (Mexico) was estimated from a long-term study (seven years) by the length-based methods ELEFAN, PROJMAT and SLCA. Some 19 251 octopuses with a range of mantle length between 50 and 240 mm were sampled from commercial landings in 1983 - 1987, 1989 and 1992. The jackknife technique was applied to deal with uncertainty in growth estimates resulting from chance variations in sampling design. The growth index φ' was used for comparative purposes. Results differed markedly among methods: ELEFAN produced parameter estimates within the range reported in the literature, whereas PROJMAT and SLCA showed problems to converge in an optimum combination of parameters, and tended to underestimate them. Jackknife analysis revealed very low intraannual variability in φ' but high variability among years, especially when applying PROJMAT. No significant differences were found in precision parameters -percent error and coefficient of variation- among methods. Estimates of φ' derived by ELEFAN varied between 4.19 and 5.23 and agreed with those reported in the literature (between 4.25 and 4.91), whereas PROJMAT and SLCA estimates were significantly lower. We suggest the use of ELEFAN, together with jackknife, to estimate growth parameters of Octopus maya.
Keywords: Growth, length-based methods, jackknife, uncertainty, octopus maya, yucatan