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Is shell partitioning between the hermit crabs Pagurus brevidactylus and Pagurus criniticornis explained by interference and/or exploitation competition?
Sant'Anna, B.S.; Da Cruz Dominciano, L.C.; Fernandes Buozia, S.; Turra, A. (2012). Is shell partitioning between the hermit crabs Pagurus brevidactylus and Pagurus criniticornis explained by interference and/or exploitation competition? Mar. Biol. Res. 8(7): 662-669. dx.doi.org/10.1080/17451000.2011.653371
In: Marine Biology Research. Taylor & Francis: Oslo; Basingstoke. ISSN 1745-1000, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Competition; Pagurus brevidactylus (Stimpson, 1859) [WoRMS]; Pagurus criniticornis (Dana, 1852) [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Shell use; Hermit crabs resource partitioning

Authors  Top 
  • Sant'Anna, B.S.
  • Da Cruz Dominciano, L.C.
  • Fernandes Buozia, S.
  • Turra, A.

Abstract
    The effect of crab behaviour on shell-use dynamics was analysed, comparing both interference and exploitation behaviours between the hermit crabs Pagurus criniticornis and Pagurus brevidactylus. Although these species exhibited microhabitat separation, with P. criniticornis dominating (100%) in sandy substrates and P. brevidactylus (80%) on rocky shores, they overlapped in the rocky shore/sand interface (P. criniticornis, 53%; P. brevidactylus, 43%). Pagurus criniticornis occupied shells of Cerithium atratum in higher frequencies (84%) than P. brevidactylus (37%), which was hypothesized to be a consequence of competitive interactions combined with their ability to acquire and/or retain this resource. The species P. criniticornis was attracted in larger numbers to simulated gastropod predation events than was P. brevidactylus, which, on the few occasions that it moved before P. criniticornis, tended to be attracted more rapidly. Interspecific shell exchanges between these species were few, suggesting the absence of dominance relationships. The shell-use pattern in this species pair is thus defined by exploitation competition, which is presumed to be intensified in areas of microsympatry. These results differ from other studies, which found that interference competition through interspecific exchanges shapes shell use, indicating that shell partitioning in hermit crabs is dependent on the behaviour of the species involved in the contests.

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