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Burrowing in the East African mangrove crab, Chiromantes ortmanni (Crosnier, 1965)(Decapoda, Brachyura, Sesarmidae)
Gillikin, D. P.; Kamanu, C. P. (2005). Burrowing in the East African mangrove crab, Chiromantes ortmanni (Crosnier, 1965)(Decapoda, Brachyura, Sesarmidae). Crustaceana 78(10): 1273-1275
In: Crustaceana. Brill Academic Publishers: Leiden; Köln; New York; Boston. ISSN 0011-216X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Burrowing; Chiromantes ortmanni Crosnier, 1965) [WoRMS]; ISW, Kenya, Gazi Bay [Marine Regions]; Marine

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  • Gillikin, D. P., more
  • Kamanu, C. P.

Abstract
    Crabs are the most abundant of the mangrove macro-fauna and are a valuable asset to the mangrove ecosystem. Burrowing crabs are particularly important and many should be considered ‘ecological engineers’ (cf. Jones et al., 1994). Crabs aerate the sediment by burrowing (Micheli et al., 1991), reduce pore water salinity by allowing flushing of the sediment via their burrows (Ridd, 1996), trap energy within the mangrove forest (Robertson, 1986; Lee, 1998), create microhabitat for other fauna (Bright & Hogue, 1972; Gillikin et al., 2001), contribute to secondary production (Lee, 1997), and increase the amount of nutrients and decrease the sulfide concentration in the sediment due to their burrowing activities (Smith et al., 1991). Therefore, it is important to have knowledge of which species are burrowing and which are not. Currently, the burrowing ecology of many mangrove crabs is not well documented. In East Africa, little is known about the burrowing behavior of Chiromantes ortmanni (Crosnier, 1965), C. eulimene (De Man, 1895), Perisesarma guttatum (A. Milne-Edwards, 1869), and P. samawati Gillikin & Schubart, 2004. This study proves for the first time that C. ortmanni are well suited for burrowing.

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