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Epibiosis and masking material in the spider crab Maja squinado (Decapoda: Majidae) in the Ria de Arousa (Galicia, NW Spain)
Parapar, J.; Fernández, L.; González-Gurriarán, E.; Muiño, R. (1997). Epibiosis and masking material in the spider crab Maja squinado (Decapoda: Majidae) in the Ria de Arousa (Galicia, NW Spain). Cah. Biol. Mar. 38(4): 221-234
In: Cahiers de Biologie Marine. Station Biologique de Roscoff: Paris. ISSN 0007-9723, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Parapar, J.
  • Fernández, L.
  • González-Gurriarán, E.
  • Muiño, R.

Abstract
    Majid crabs present a marked masking behaviour, which, in addition to the phenomenon of epibiosis on their exoskeleton, constitutes a complex camouflage system to ward off predators. This paper presents a study on the floral and faunal composition of the epibiont and masking material of the decapod Maja squinado in the Ria de Arousa (Galicia, NW Spain). A total of 309 taxa were identified. Seaweeds (87 species), cnidarians (48), polychaetes (46), crustacean s (36) and molluscs (30) were the groups with a higher number of species. The frequency of occurrence of these groups was about 70%. Ascidians, poriferans, bryozoans and echinoderms were less important in number of species and frequency of occurrence. The quantitative impact of each of these groups and their species composition varies considerably, and depends on the area of the ria where M. squinado was found and the time that had elapsed since the terminal moult. The pre-pubertal spider crabs found in shallow water areas showed strong masking behaviour, while epibiosis was very scarce. Once individuals have undergone the pubertal moult, epibiosis begins, while the masking behaviour decreases and finally disappears.

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