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Recruitment to adult habitats following marine planktonic development in the fiddler crabs, Uca pugilator, U. pugnax, and U. minax
Brodie, R.J.; Behum, M.E.; Monroe, E.; Glenn, N.; Staton, J.L. (2005). Recruitment to adult habitats following marine planktonic development in the fiddler crabs, Uca pugilator, U. pugnax, and U. minax. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 147(1): 105-111. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-005-1557-1
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Brodie, R.J.
  • Behum, M.E.
  • Monroe, E.
  • Glenn, N.
  • Staton, J.L.

Abstract
    Three congeneric species of fiddler crabs, Uca pugilator (Bosc, 1802), U. pugnax (Smith, 1870), and U. minax (LeConte, 1855), co-occur in estuaries along the east coast of North America, from Cape Cod to northern Florida. Although U. minax adults are generally found at lower salinities than the other two species, the distributions of all three species overlap to some degree. The distribution of megalopae and juvenile fiddler crabs (from first crab stage to those with a carapace width of 3.0 mm) was examined at four sites along a salinity gradient (from 35.0±2.0‰ to 3.0±3.0‰; x¯±SD ) in the North Inlet Estuary, South Carolina, USA, in August 2002. A PCR-RFLP technique was developed to identify individuals from the genus Uca to species from first zoea through the early crab stages. An examination of the distribution of early life stages showed that U. minax reinvades low-salinity adult habitats at settlement, following planktonic larval development in the coastal ocean. Also, juveniles of U. pugilator were found to occupy Spartina alterniflora stands, where adult conspecifics rarely occur. Species frequencies were different for adults compared to early life stages in low-salinity areas of the marsh, where populations overlap. Settlement and survival dynamics of early life-history stages in wet and dry years likely determine the distribution of adult Uca spp. populations along salinity gradients in estuarine ecosystems.

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