Marine Biology

, Volume 156, Issue 12, pp 2591–2599 | Cite as

Abundance, population structure and claw morphology of the semi-terrestrial crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus (Fabricius, 1787) on shores of differing wave exposure

  • Ana Catarina Ferreira Silva
  • Sónia Brazão
  • Steve J. Hawkins
  • Richard C. Thompson
  • Diana M. Boaventura
Original Paper

Abstract

Wave action is known to influence the abundance and distribution of intertidal organisms. Wave action will also determine the duration and suitability of various foraging windows (high-tide and low-tide, day and night) for predation and can also affect predator behaviour, both directly by impeding prey handling and indirectly by influencing prey abundance. It remains uncertain whether semi-terrestrial mobile predators such as crabs which can access intertidal prey during emersion when the effects of wave action are minimal, are influenced by exposure. Here, we assessed the effect of wave action on the abundance and population structure (size and gender) of the semi-terrestrial intertidal crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus on rocky shores in Portugal. The activity of P. marmoratus with the tidal cycle on sheltered and exposed shores was established using baited pots at high-tide to examine whether there was activity during intertidal immersion and by low-tide searches. Because prey abundance varies along a wave exposure gradient on most Portuguese shores and because morphology of crab chelipeds are known to be related to diet composition, we further tested the hypothesis that predator stomach contents reflected differences in prey abundance along the horizontal gradient in wave exposure and that this would be correlated with the crab cheliped morphology. Thus, we examined phenotypic variation in P. marmoratus chelipeds across shores of differing exposure to wave action. P. marmoratus was only active during low-tide. Patterns of abundance and population structure of crabs did not vary with exposure to wave action. Stomach contents, however, varied significantly between shores of differing exposure with a higher consumption of hard-shelled prey (mussels) on exposed locations, where this type of prey is more abundant, and a higher consumption of barnacles on sheltered shores. Multivariate geometric analysis of crab claws showed that claws were significantly larger on exposed shores. There was a significant correlation between animals with larger claws and the abundance of mussels in their stomach. Variation in cheliped size may have resulted from differing food availability on sheltered and exposed shores.

References

  1. Ameyawakumfi C, Hughes RN (1987) Behaviour of Carcinus maenas feeding on large Mytilus edulis—how do they assess the optimal diet. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 38:213–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson MJ (2001a) A new method for non-parametric multivariate analysis of variance. Austral Ecol 26:32–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson MJ (2001b) Permutation tests for univariate or multivariate analysis of variance and regression. Can J Fish Aquatic Sci 58:626–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson MJ (2005) PERMANOVA-permutational multivariate analysis of variance, AucklandGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson MJ, Gorley RN (2007) PERMANOVA+ for primer: guide to statistical methods PRIMER-E, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  6. Anderson MJ, Ter Braak CJF (2003) Permutation tests for multi-factorial analysis of variance. J Stat Comput Simul 73:85–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Anderson MJ, Gorley RN, Clarke KR (2008) PERMANOVA+ for Primer: guide to software and statistical methods PRIMER-E Ltd, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  8. Rheinault T (1986) Size selection by the crab Liocarcinus puber feeding on mussels Mytilus edulis and on shore crabs Carcinus maenas: the importance of mechanical factors. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 29:45–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ballantine WJ (1961) A biologically-defined exposure scale for the comparative description of rocky shores. Field Stud 1:1–17Google Scholar
  10. Bellgrove A, Clayton MN, Quinn GP (2004) An integrated study of the temporal and spatial variation in the supply of propagules, recruitment and assemblages of intertidal macroalgae on a wave-exposed rocky coast, Victoria, Australia. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 310:207–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Boaventura D, Ré P, Cancela da Fonseca L, Hawkins SJ (2002) Intertidal rocky shore communities of the Continental Portuguese coast: analysis of distribution patterns. Mar Ecol 23:69–90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Boller ML, Carrington E (2006) In situ measurements of hydrodynamic forces imposed on Chondrus crispus stackhouse. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 337:159–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brousseau DJ, Fillipowicz A, Baglivo JA (2001) Laboratory investigations of the effects of predator sex and size on prey selection by the Asian crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 262:199–210PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brown SC, Cassuto SR, Loos RW (1979) Biomechanics of chelipeds in some decapod crustaceans. J Zool 188:143–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Burrows MT, Harvey R, Robb L (2008) Wave exposure indices from digital coastlines and the prediction of rocky shore community structure. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 353:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cannicci S, Paula J, Vannini M (1999) Activity pattern and spatial strategy in Pachygrapsus marmoratus (Decapoda:Grapsidade) from Mediterranean and Atlantic shores. Mar Biol 133:429–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cannicci S, Gomei M, Boddi B, Vannini M (2002) Feeding habits and natural diet of the intertidal crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus: opportunistic browser or selective feeder? Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 54:983–1001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cannicci S, Gomei M, Dahdouh-Guebas F, Rorandelli R, Terlizzi A (2007) Influence of seasonal food abundance and quality on the feeding habits of an opportunistic feeder, the intertidal crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus. Mar Biol 151:1331–1342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Choy SC (1986) Natural diet and feeding habits of the crabs Liocarcinus puber and L. holsatus (Decapoda, Brachyura, Portunidae). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 31:87–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Clarke KR (1993) Non-parametric multivariate analyses of changes in community structure. Aust J Ecol 18:117–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Clarke B, Gorley R (2007) PRIMER6. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, PlymouthGoogle Scholar
  22. Clarke KR, Warwick RM (2007) PRIMER-E, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UKGoogle Scholar
  23. D’Amours O, Scheibling RE (2007) Effect of wave exposure on morphology, attachment strength and survival of the invasive green alga Codium fragile ssp tomentosoides. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 351:129–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Denny MW (1985) Wave forces on intertidal organisms: a case study. Limnol Oceanogr 30:1171–1187Google Scholar
  25. Denny MW (1994) Extreme drag forces and the survival of wind-swept and water-swept organisms. J Exp Biol 194:97–115PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Denny MW (2000) Limits to optimization: fluid dynamics, adhesive strength and the evolution of shape in limpet shells. J Exp Biol 203:2603–2622PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Denny MW, Daniel TL, Koehl MAR (1985) Mechanical limits to size in wave-swept organisms. Ecol Monogr 55:69–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Elner RW (1978) The mechanisms of predation by the shore crab, Carcinus maenas (L.), on the edible mussel, Mytilus edulis L. Oecologia 36:333–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Etter RJ (1996) The effect of wave action, prey type and foraging time on growth of the predatory snail Nucella lapillus (L.). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 196:341–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Flores A, Paula J (2001) Intertidal distribution and species composition of brachyuran crabs at two rocky shores in Central Portugal. Hydrobiologia 449:171–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Freire J, Sampedro MP, González-Gurriarán E (1996) Influence of morphometry and biomechanics on diet selection in three portunid crabs. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 137:111–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hill BJ (1976) Natural food, foregut clearance rate and activity of the crab Scylla serrata. Mar Biol 34:109–116CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hughes RN (2000) Crab claws as tools and weapons. In: Domenici P, Blake RW (eds) Biomechanics in animal behavior. BIOS Scientific, Oxford, pp 195–205Google Scholar
  34. Hughes RN, Seed R (1981) Size selection of mussels by the blue crab Callinectes sapidus: energy maximizer or time minimizer? Mar Ecol Prog Ser 6:83–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jones RS (1968) A suggested method for quantifying gut contents in herbivorous fish. Micronesica 4:369–371Google Scholar
  36. Jonsson PR, Granhag L, Moschella PS, Aberg P, Hawkins SJ, Thompson RC (2006) Interactions between wave action and grazing control the distribution of intertidal macroalgae. Ecology 87:1169–1178PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Juanes F (1992) Why do decapod crustaceans prefer small-sized molluscan prey. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 87:239–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kaiser MJ, Hughes RN, Gibson RN (1993) Factors affecting diet selection in the shore crab, Carcinus maenas (L.). Anim Behav 45:83–92Google Scholar
  39. Lee SY (1995) Cheliped size and structure: the evolution of a multi-functional decapod organ. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 193:161–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lee S, Seed R (1992) Ecological implications of cheliped size in crabs: some data from Carcinus maenas and Liocarcinus holsatus. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 84:151–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lewis JR (1964) The ecology of rocky shores. English University Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  42. McArdle BH, Anderson MJ (2001) Fitting multivariate models to community data: a comment on distance-based redundancy analysis. Ecology 82:290–297Google Scholar
  43. Naylor E (1962) Seasonal changes in a population of Carcinus maenas (L.) in the littoral zone. J Anim Ecol 31:601–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nickell LA, Sayer MDJ (1998) Occurrence and activity of mobile macrofauna on a sublittoral reef: diel and seasonal variation. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 78:1061–1082CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Norman CP, Jones MB (1992) Influence of depth, season and moult stage on the diet of the velvet swimming crab Necora puber (Brachyura, Portunidae). Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 34:71–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pardo LM, Johnson LE (2006) Influence of water motion and reproductive attributes on movement and shelter use in the marine snail Littorina saxatilis. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 315:177–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Raffaelli D, Hawkins S (1996) Intertidal ecology. Chapman & Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  48. Ricklefs RE, Miles DB (1994) Ecological and evolutionary inferences from morphology. In: Wainwright PC, Reilly SM (eds) Ecological morphology—integrative organismal biology. The University Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 13–41Google Scholar
  49. Robles C, Desharnais R (2002) History and current development of a paradigm of predation in rocky intertidal communities. Ecology 83:1521–1536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Robles CD, Alvarado MA, Desharnais RA (2001) The shifting balance of littoral predator–prey interaction in regimes of hydrodynamic stress. Oecologia 128:142–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Seed R, Hughes RN (1995) Criteria for prey size-selection in molluscivorous crabs with contrasting claw morphologies. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 193:177–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Seed R, Hughes RN (1997) Chelal characteristics and foraging behaviour of the blue crab Callinectes sapidus rathbun. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 44:221–229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Silva ACF, Boaventura DM, Flores A, Ré P, Hawkins SJ (2004) Rare predation by the intertidal crab Pachygrapsus marmoratus on the limpet Patella depressa. J Mar Biol Assoc UK 84:367–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Smith LD, Palmer AR (1994) Effects of manipulated diet on size and performance of brachyuran crab claws. Science 264:710–712PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Spooner EH, Coleman RA, Attrill MJ (2007) Sex differences in body morphology and multitrophic interactions involving the foraging behaviour of the crab Carcinus maenas. Mar Ecol Evol Perspect 28:394–403Google Scholar
  56. Tanaka MO, Duque-Estrada TEM, Magalhaes CA (2002) Dynamics of the acmaeid limpet Collisella subrugosa and vertical distribution of size and abundance along a wave exposure gradient. J Molluscan Stud 68:55–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Thompson RC, Norton TA, Hawkins SJ (2004) Physical stress and biological control regulate the producer–consumer balance in intertidal biofilms. Ecology 85:1372–1382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Underwood AJ, Chapman MG (1998) GMAV5 for Windows. Institute of Marine Ecology, University of SydneyGoogle Scholar
  59. Vermeij GJ (1977) Patterns in crab claw size—geography of crushing. Syst Zool 26:138–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Warner GF, Jones AR (1976) Leverage and musce type in crab chelae (Crustacea:Brachyura). J Zool Soc Lond 180:57–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wear RG, Haddon M (1987) Natural diet of the crab Ovalipes catharus (Crustacea, Portunidae) around central and northern New Zeland. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 35:39–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Williams MJ (1981) Methods for analysis of natural diet in portunid crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Portunidae). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 52:103–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Williams MJ (1982) Natural food and feeding in the commercial sand crab Portunus pelagicus Linnaeus, 1766 (Crustacea : Decapoda : Portunidae) in Moreton Bay, Queensland. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 59:165–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wolcott BD (2007) Mechanical size limitation and life-history strategy of an intertidal seaweed. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 338:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Yamada SB, Boulding EG (1998) Claw morphology, prey size selection and foraging efficiency in generalist and specialist shell-breaking crabs. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 220:191–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zipser E, Vermeij GJ (1978) Crushing behaviour of tropical and temperate crabs. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 31:155–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Catarina Ferreira Silva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sónia Brazão
    • 3
  • Steve J. Hawkins
    • 2
    • 4
  • Richard C. Thompson
    • 1
  • Diana M. Boaventura
    • 3
    • 5
  1. 1.Marine Biology & Ecology Research GroupUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK
  2. 2.Marine Biological Association of the United KingdomPlymouthUK
  3. 3.Laboratório Marítimo da Guia, Centro de Oceanografia da Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de LisboaCascaisPortugal
  4. 4.School of Ocean SciencesBangor UniversityYnys MonWales, UK
  5. 5.Escola Superior de Educação João de DeusLisbonPortugal

Personalised recommendations