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The final spawning ground of Tachypleus gigas (Muller, 1785) on the east Peninsular Malaysia is at risk: a call for action
Nelson, B.R.; Satyanarayana, B.; Moh, J.H.Z.; Ikhwanuddin, M.; Chatterji, A.; Shaharom, F. (2016). The final spawning ground of Tachypleus gigas (Muller, 1785) on the east Peninsular Malaysia is at risk: a call for action. PeerJ 4: e2232.
In: PeerJ. PeerJ: Corte Madera & London. ISSN 2167-8359, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Author keywords
    Anthropogenic disturbance; Conservation and management; Living fossil;Monsoonal impact; Nest shifting behaviour; Seasonal nesting

Authors  Top 
  • Nelson, B.R.
  • Satyanarayana, B., more
  • Moh, J.H.Z.
  • Ikhwanuddin, M.
  • Chatterji, A.
  • Shaharom, F.

    Tanjung Selongor and Pantai Balok (State Pahang) are the only two places known for spawning activity of the Malaysian horseshoe crab - Tachypleus gigas (Müller, 1785) on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. While the former beach has been disturbed by several anthropogenic activities that ultimately brought an end to the spawning activity of T. gigas, the status of the latter remains uncertain. In the present study, the spawning behavior of T. gigas at Pantai Balok (Sites I-III) was observed over a period of thirty six months, in three phases, between 2009 and 2013. Every year, the crab’s nesting activity was found to be high during Southwest monsoon (May–September) followed by Northeast (November–March) and Inter monsoon (April and October) periods. In the meantime, the number of female T. gigas in 2009–2010 (Phase-1) was higher (38 crabs) than in 2010–2011 (Phase-2: 7 crabs) and 2012–2013 (Phase-3: 9 crabs) for which both increased overexploitation (for edible and fishmeal preparations) as well as anthropogenic disturbances in the vicinity (sand mining since 2009, land reclamation for wave breaker/parking lot constructions in 2011 and fishing jetty construction in 2013) are responsible. In this context, the physical infrastructure developments have altered the sediment close to nesting sites to be dominated by fine sand (2.5 ) with moderately-well sorted (0.6–0.7σφ), very-coarse skewed (−2.4SKφ), and extremely leptokurtic (12.6) properties. Also, increased concentrations of Cadmium (from 4.2 to 13.6 mg kg−1) and Selenium (from 11.5 to 23.3 mg kg−1) in the sediment, and Sulphide (from 21 to 28 µg l−1) in the water were observed. In relation to the monsoonal changes affecting sheltered beach topography and sediment flux, the spawning crabs have shown a seasonal nest shifting behaviour in-between Sites I-III during 2009–2011. However, in 2012–2013, the crabs were mostly restricted to the areas (i.e., Sites I and II) with high oxygen (5.5–8.0 mg l−1) and moisture depth (6.2–10.2 cm). In view of the sustained anthropogenic pressure on the coastal habitats on one hand and decreasing horseshoe crabs population on the other, it is crucial to implement both conservation and management measures for T. gigas at Pantai Balok. Failing that may lead to the loss of this final spawning ground on the east coast of P. Malaysia.

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