Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 5, pp 1133–1142 | Cite as

Richness, abundance and shell use of subarctic and arctic hermit crabs

  • David K. A. Barnes
  • Piotr Kukliński
  • Maria Wlodarska-Kowalczuk
Research Article

Abstract

Hermit crabs are an obvious, common and abundant feature of global shallow water environments but almost nothing is known of their ecology at their extreme latitudinal ranges, the Arctic and southern South America. In this study, we report the first investigation on hermit crabs and their use of a key resource, gastropod shells, in a subpolar and a polar environment—amongst the most rapidly changing places on earth. Hypothesised low levels of richness were confirmed by surveys—only Pagurus pubescens was found in western Spitsbergen and only three pagurids were found in northern Norway. At the northern-most of their extent, hermit crabs were fairly common but Arctic abundances (1–5 m−2) were an order of magnitude lower than in many warm temperate or tropical localities. Along the open coast of Spitsbergen, the occurrence of P. pubescens was infrequent and very patchy, but it was more abundant in the fjords. In Isfjorden, the largest studied fjord, the population of P. pubescens was mainly represented by small individuals. Spitsbergen P. pubescens used few shell types and >87% just occurred in Margarites or Buccinum shells. The proportion of the gastropod shells, used by P. pubescens, which were damaged, was high and increased with shell size. These hermit crabs are at the edge of the range for both their species and Anomura. The extremes of their location are reflected by: They probably represent the least rich assemblage, with the lowest and most patchy typical abundances reported to date and are amongst the smallest individuals using the least diverse and most damaged gastropod shells.

Keywords

Hermit Crab Shell Type Empty Shell Gastropod Shell Svalbard Archipelago 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

Our thanks are due to Dr Marek Zajaczkowski (IO PAS) and Marcin Zajaczkowski for help with logistics. The authors are grateful to Karen Webb for aid in collection of data at Bellsund, Hornsund and Sorkapp. The study has been completed with the help of the Marie Curie Fellowship provided to PK from the European Commission. We thank Prof. Lloyd Peck for comments on an early draft of the manuscript and declare that the experiments we performed complied with the current laws of Spitsbergen. Finally, we would like to thank Dr Sven Thatje and an anonymous referee for comments leading to a much-improved manuscript.

References

  1. Arntz WE, Brey T, Gallardo VA (1994) Antarctic zoobenthos. Ocean Mar Biol Ann Rev 32:241–304Google Scholar
  2. Barnes DKA (1997) The ecology of tropical hermit crabs at Quirimba Island, Mozambique: distribution, abundance and activity. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 154:133–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes DKA (1999) The ecology of tropical hermit crabs at Quirimba Island, Mozambique: shell characteristics and utilisation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 183:241–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnes DKA (2003) Local, regional and global patterns of resource use in ecology: hermit crabs and gastropod shells as an example. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 246:211–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barnes DKA (2005) Body and resource size at the land–sea interface. Mar Biol 146:625–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barnes DKA, De Grave S (2002) Temporospatial constraints in resources available to and used by hermit crabs: tests of models. Funct Ecol 16:714–726CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barnes DKA, Kuklinski P (2005) Low colonisation on artificial substrata in arctic Spitsbergen. Polar Biol 29:65–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Birula A (1906) Zoologische Ergebnisse der Russischen Expeditionen nach SpitzbergenGoogle Scholar
  9. Boschi EE (2000) Species of decapod crustaceans and their distributions in the American marine zoogeographic provinces. Revista de Investigacion y Desarrollo Pesquero 13:1–136Google Scholar
  10. Brown JH (1984) On the relationship between abundance and distribution of species. Am Nat 124:255–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chapelle G, Peck LS (1999) Polar gigantism dictated by oxygen availability. Nature 399:114–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clarke A (1983) Life in cold water: the physiological ecology of polar marine. ecototherms. Oceanogr Mar Biol Ann Rev 21:341–453Google Scholar
  13. Clarke KR, Gorley RN (2001) PRIMER v5: user manual/tutorial. PRIMER-E, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  14. Conlan KE, Lenihan HS, Kvitek RG, Oliver JS (1998) Ice scour disturbance to benthic communities in the Canadian high Arctic. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 166:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Côté I, Bénédicte R, Cooke PK (1998) Less choosy or different preference? Impact of hypoxia on hermit crab shell assessment and selection. Am Nat 56:867–873Google Scholar
  16. Cunningham CW, Blackstone NW, Buss LW (1992) Evolution of king crabs from hermit crab ancestors. Nature 355:539–542PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dayton PK (1990) Polar benthos. In: Smith WO (ed) Polar oceanography. Academic, London, pp 631–685Google Scholar
  18. Fisher MR (1999) Effect of temperature and salinity on size at maturity of female blue crabs. Trans Am Fish Soc 128:499–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Floeter SR, Nalcesso RC, Rodrigues MMP, Turra A (2000) Patterns of shell utilization and selection in two sympatric hermit crabs (Anomura: Diogenidae) in south-eastern Brazil. J Mar Biolog Assoc UK 80:1053–1059CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Frederich M, Sartoris FJ, Pörtner H-O (2001) Distribution patterns of decapod crustaceans in polar areas: a result of magnesium regulation?. Polar Biol 24:719–723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gherardi F (1990) Competition and coexistence in two Mediterranean hermit crabs, Calcinus ornatus (Roux) and Clibanarius erythropus (Latreille) (Decapoda, Anomura). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 143:221–238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gherardi F, Micheli F, Vannini M (1990) Movement patterns and dispersal of the hermit crab Clibanarius longitarsus in a mangrove swamp. Mar Behav Physiol 16:209–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grant WC (1963) Notes on the ecology and behavior of the hermit crab Pagurus acadianus. Ecology 44:767–771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Graus RR (1974) Latitudinal trends in the shell characteristics of marine gastropods. Lethaia 7:303–314Google Scholar
  25. Gulliksen B (1979) Shallow water benthic fauna from Bear Island. Astarte 12:5–12Google Scholar
  26. Gulliksen B, Palerud R, Brattegard T, Sneli JA (1998) Distribution of marine benthic macro-organisms at Svalbard (including Bear Island) and Jan Mayen. Research report for DN 1999-4, Directorate for Nature Management, p 148Google Scholar
  27. Gulliksen B, Svendsen E (2004) Svalbard and life in polar oceans. Kom Forlag, p 160Google Scholar
  28. Hazlett BA (1981) The behavioural ecology of hermit crabs. Ann Rev Ecol Syst 12:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hazlett BA, Rittschof D, Bach CE (1996) Interspecific shell transfer by mutual predation site attendance. Anim Behav 51:589–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Heegaard PE (1941) The zoology of east Greenland. Decapod crustaceans. Medd om Grenl 12 (in press)Google Scholar
  31. Hjelset AM, Andersen M, Gjertz I, Lydersen C, Gulliksen B (1999) Feeding habits of bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) from the Svalbard area, Norway. Polar Biol 21:186–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hop H, Pearson TH, Hegseth EN, Kovacs KM, Wiencke C, Kwasniewski S, Eiane K, Mehlum F, Gulliksen B, Wlodarska-Kowalczuk M, Lydersen C, Weslawski JM, Cochrane S, Gabrielsen GW, Leakey R, Lonne OJ, Zajaczkowski M, Falk-Petersen S, Kendall MA, Wängberg S-Å, Bischof K, Voronkov A, Kovaltchouk NA, Wiktor J, Poltermann M, di Prisco G, Papucci C, Gerland S (2002) The marine ecosystem of Kongsfjorden, Svalbard. Polar Res 21:167–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hurlbert SH (1971) The non-concept of species diversity: a critique and alternative parameters. Ecology 52:577–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Imazu M, Asakura A (1994) Distribution, reproduction and shell utilisation patterns in three species of intertidal hermit crabs on a rocky shore on the Pacific coast of Japan. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 184:41–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kaczmarek H, Wlodarska-Kowalczuk M, Legezynska J, Zajaczkowski M (2005) Shallow sublittoral fauna in Kongsfjord (west Spitsbergen, Svalbard). Pol Polar Res 26:135–155Google Scholar
  36. Kellogg CW (1976) Gastropod shells: a potentially limiting resource for hermit crabs. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 22:101–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kuklinski P (2001) Bryozoa of the high Arctic fjord: a preliminary study. In: Wyse Jackson P, Buttler C, Spencer Jones M (eds) Bryozoan studies 2001, Abingdon, Balkema, pp 175–182Google Scholar
  38. Leite FPP, Turra A, Gandolfi SM (1998) Hermit crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura), gastropod shells and environmental structure: their relationship in southeastern Brazil. J Nat Hist 32:1599–1608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Loeng H (1991) Features of the physical oceanographic conditions of the Barents Sea, In: Sakshaug E, Hopkins CCE and Oritsland NA (eds) Proceedings of the pro mare symposium on polar marine ecology, Trondheim, 12–16 May 1990, Polar Research 10:5–18Google Scholar
  40. Lovrich G, Thatje S (2006) Reproductive and larval biology of the sub-antarctic hermit crab Pagurus comptus reared in the laboratory. J Mar Biol Ass U K 86:743–749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nyblade CF (1974) Coexistence in sympatric hermit crabs. PhD thesis, University of Washington, SeattleGoogle Scholar
  42. Pechenik JA, Lewis S (2000) Avoidance of drilled gastropod shells by the hermit crab Pagurus longicarpus at Nahant, Massachusetts. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 253:17–32PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pérez-Barros P, Tapella F, Romero MC, Calcagno J, Lovrich GA (2004) Benthic decapod crustaceans associated with captures of Munida spp. (Decapoda: Anomura) in the Beagle Channel, Argentina. Sci Mar (Barc) 68(2):237–246Google Scholar
  44. Pörtner HO, Storch D, Heilmayer O (2005) Constraints and trade-offs in climate-dependent adaptation: energy budgets and growth in a latitudinal cline. Scientia Marina 69(Suppl 2):39–55Google Scholar
  45. Quignard JP (1966) Reserches sur les Labrides des cotes. Europeennes Naturalia Monspel Ser Zoologie 5:1–247Google Scholar
  46. Reese ES (1963) The behavioural mechanisms underlying shell selection in hermit crabs. Behav 21:78–126Google Scholar
  47. Roy K, Jablonski D, Valentine JW (1996) Higher taxa in biodiversity studies: patterns from eastern Pacific marine molluscs. Philos Trans Roy Soc Lond B Biol Sci 351:1605–1613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Saloranta TM, Svendsen H (2001) Across the Arctic front west of Spitsbergen: high-resolution CTD sections from 1988 to 2000. Polar Res 20:177–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Samuelsen TJ (1970) The biology of six species of Anomura (Crustacea, Decapoda) from Raunefjorden, western Norway. Sarsia 45:25–52Google Scholar
  50. Sanberg L, McLaughlin PA (1988) Crustacea, Decapoda, Paguridea. Marine invertebrates of Scandinavia No. 10. Scandinavian University Press, Oslo, p 113Google Scholar
  51. Sato M, Jensen GC (2005) Shell selection by the hermit crab, Pagarus hartae (McLaughlin and Jensen 1996) (Decapoda, Anomura). Crustaceana 78:755–760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Scully EP (1979) The effects of gastropod shell availability and habitat characteristics on shell utilization by the intertidal hermit crab Pagurus longicarpus Say. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 37:139–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Siu BFC, Lee SY (1992) Shell preference and utilization pattern in two hermit crabs, Pagurus trigonocheirus (Stimpson) and Clibanarius bimaculatus (De Haan), on a sheltered rocky shore in Hong Kong. Asian Mar Biol 9:205–216Google Scholar
  54. Squires HJ, Ennis GP, Dawe G (2001) On biology of two sympatric species of hermit crab (Crustacea, Decapoda, Paguridae) at St Chads, Newfoundland. NAFO Sci Coun Stud 34:7–17Google Scholar
  55. Svendsen H, Beszczynska-Møller A, Hagen JO, Lefauconnier B, Tverberg V, Gerland S, Ørbæk JB, Bischof K, Papucci C, Zajaczkowski M, Azzolini R, Bruland O, Wiencke C, Winther JG, Dallmann W (2002) The physical environment of Kongsfjorden-Krossfjorden, an Arctic fjord system in Svalbard. Polar Res 21:133–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Swerpel S (1985) The Hornsund Fiord: water masses. Pol Polar Res 6:475–496Google Scholar
  57. Thatje S, Anger K, Calcagno JA, Lovrich GA, Pörtner HO, Arntz WE (2005) Challenging the cold: crabs reconquer the Antarctic. Ecology 86:619–625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Turra A, Leite FPP (2000) Clustering behaviour of hermit crabs (Decapoda, Anomura) in an intertidal rocky shore at Sao Sebastiao, Southeastern Brazil. Rev Bras Biol 60:39–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vance RR (1972) Competition and mechanisms of coexistence in three sympatric species of intertidal hermit crabs. Ecology 53:1062–1074CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Węsławski JM (1987) Distribution of Decapoda (Crustacea) in south Spitsbergen coastal waters with remarks on their ecology and breeding biology. Pol Polar Res 8:12–134Google Scholar
  61. Węsławski JM, Zajączkowski M, Kwaśniewski S, Jezierski J, Moskal W (1988) Seasonality in an Arctic fjord ecosystem: Horsunfjord, Spitsbergen. Polar Res 6:185–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Węsławski JM, Kwasniewski S, Stempniewicz L, Błachowiak-Samołyk K (2006) Biodiversity and energy transfer to top trophic levels in two contrasting Arctic fjords. Pol Polar Res 27:259–278Google Scholar
  63. Wilber TP (1990) Influence of size, species and damage on shell selection by the hermit crab Pagurus longicarpus. Mar Biol 104:31–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Winkelman D, Knies J (2005) Recent distribution and accumulation of organic carbon on the continental margin west off Spitsbergen. Geochem Geophys Geosyst 6:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wlodarska-Kowalczuk M, Pearson TH (2004) Soft-bottom macrobenthic faunal associations and factors affecting species distributions in an Arctic glacial fjord (Kongsfjord, Spitsbergen). Polar Biol 27:155–167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wlodarska-Kowalczuk M, Pearson TH, Kendall MA (2005) Benthic response to chronic natural physical disturbance by glacial sedimentation in an Arctic fjord. Mar Ecol Progr Ser 303:31–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wlodarska-Kowalczuk M (2007) Molluscs in Kongsfjorden (Spitsbergen): species list and patterns of distribution and diversity. Polar Res (in press)Google Scholar
  68. Young A (1979) Differential utilization of gastropod shells by three hermit crab species in North Inlet, South Carolina, USA. Crustaceana 5:101–104Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David K. A. Barnes
    • 1
  • Piotr Kukliński
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maria Wlodarska-Kowalczuk
    • 2
  1. 1.British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research CouncilCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Marine Ecology Department Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of SciencesSopotPoland
  3. 3.Natural History MuseumLondonUK

Personalised recommendations