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Life history of Allopetrolisthes spinifrons, a crab associate of the sea anemone Phymactis clematis
Baeza, J.A.; Stotz, W.; Thiel, M. (2001). Life history of Allopetrolisthes spinifrons, a crab associate of the sea anemone Phymactis clematis. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 81: 69-76
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, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Baeza, J.A.
  • Stotz, W.
  • Thiel, M.

Abstract
    Allopetrolisthes spinifrons is an ectocommensal crab of the sea anemone Phymactis clematis. The population biology of A. spinifrons in north central Chile was examined between January and December 1996. During 1996, 74% of P. clematis in the rocky intertidal zone hosted at least one commensal crab. In most cases, one sea anemone was inhabited by a single adult crab, either male or female. A few sea anemones hosted two or more crabs, one usually being an adult and the others juveniles or small crabs that just had recruited to the host. The sex ratio of adult crabs was ~1:1 during most months. Reproduction occurred with similar intensity throughout the year as indicated by the continuous presence of reproductive females. Similarly, recruitment of A. spinifrons occurred throughout the year with the exception of late winter when no megalopae and small juveniles were found on sea anemones. Fecundity of female crabs varied between 121 and 5661 eggs per female (6.9-19.2 mm carapace length) and was significantly higher during the austral winter (July) than during the summer (December). The fact that most sea anemones were inhabited by a single adult crab indicates that hosts may be monopolized by individual crabs. Resource requirements may prohibit adult crabs from sharing a host individual with another large crab, while adult tolerance towards juveniles may facilitate the maintenance of local populations.

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