, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 25-31
Date: 24 Sep 2005

First record of an epibiosis between the sand crab Emerita analoga (Stimpson, 1857) (Decapoda: Hippidae) and the mussel Semimytilus algosus (Gould, 1850) (Bivalvia, Mytilidae) in southern Peru

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Coastal zones of the Humboldt Current Upwelling System (HCUS) are composed both of rocky and sandy beaches inhabited by macrozoobenthic communities. These show oscillating changes in the dominance of species; the abundance of the sand crab Emerita analoga is linked to phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The biogenic surfaces of these crabs serve as substrate for opportunistic colonizers. This study is the first record of an epibiosis between E. analoga and the rock mussel Semimytilus algosus, detected at a southern Peruvian sandy beach. Mussels fouled a wide size-range of adult E. analoga (7.3%) but they themselves belonged to small-size classes. The largest S. algosus was 17.4 mm in length. Highest permanence of epibionts was found on larger sand crabs (maximum between 24 and 27 mm). Significantly more mussels were found on the ventral surface (39.4%) compared to 10 other surface areas of the sand crab. Possible benefits and disadvantages of the observed epibiosis for both the basibiont and the epibiont are discussed.

Communicated by H.-D. Franke