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Biological traits suggest a niche overlap between two grapsid crabs sharing the rocky intertidal of the eastern Mediterranean
Arab, A.; Kazanjian, G.; Bariche, M. (2015). Biological traits suggest a niche overlap between two grapsid crabs sharing the rocky intertidal of the eastern Mediterranean. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 95(8): 1685-1692. https://hdl.handle.net/10.1017/S0025315415001010
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Cambridge. ISSN 0025-3154; e-ISSN 1469-7769, more
Also appears in:
Sukhotin, A.; Frost, M.; Hummel, H. (Ed.) (2015). Proceedings of the 49th European Marine Biology Symposium September 8-12, 2014, St. Petersburg, Russia. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 95(8). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. 1517-1721 pp., more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Grapsidae; Pachygrapsus marmoratus; Pachygrapsus transversus; populationstructure; reproduction; settlement; Lebanon; Mediterranean

Authors  Top 
  • Arab, A.
  • Kazanjian, G.
  • Bariche, M.

Abstract
    The current study investigated basic biological features for two co-occurring shore crabs Pachygrapsus marmoratus and P. transversus in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Differences in population structure, reproductive periods and settlement patterns were studied along the coast of Lebanon. Sizes of sampled individuals ranged from 4 to 37 mm carapace width (CW) for P. marmoratus and from 3.5 to 24 mm CW for P. transversus. Males were larger than females in both species, each of them exhibiting different size frequency distributions. Both male and female proportions were similar for P. marmoratus while males dominated the population of P. transversus. Fecundity and egg sizes were higher in P. marmoratus and fecundity was directly related to body size for the two crabs. Size structures differed between studied locations showing size restrictions for specific size-classes. Females from both species remained ovigerous for about 5 months, with P. transversus (May–August) started 1 month after P. marmoratus. Larger sized females displayed higher fecundities. The recruitment of juveniles lasted 5 months for both P. marmoratus (December–May) and P. transversus (November–April). Our results showed that niche partitioning occurred between the two species, where P. marmoratus starts incubating earlier than P. transversus while young of the year of the latter settle earlier on the reefs, taking advantage of convenient seawater temperatures and thus minimizing competition. This study shed some light on the populations of grapsid crabs living in the eastern Mediterranean and provided baseline information on the biology and ecology of the two congeneric shore crabs and their interactions.

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