Polar Biology

, 32:1047 | Cite as

Fouling community of the red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus (Tilesius 1815), in a subarctic fjord of the Barents sea

  • Alexander G. Dvoretsky
  • Vladimir G. Dvoretsky
Original Paper


We examined the species composition of red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) fouling communities in Dolgaya Bay, a small fjord of the Barents Sea, in August 2005 and 2006. In total, there were 13 species observed on 301 crabs collected from water depths of 5–90 m. Barnacles (Balanus crenatus; prevalence 42.9%) and blue mussels (Mytilus edulis; 11.6%) were the most common epibionts, while amphipods (Ischyrocerus commensalis) were the most common symbionts (28.6%). Infestation rates in Dolgaya Bay were different from those in an “open” area of the Barents Sea (Dalnezelenetskaya Bay), probably due to differences in hydrodynamic conditions. Differences in infestation prevalence and intensity were detected neither between male and female crabs nor between crabs collected at 5–35 m versus 90 m depths. Prevalence of common fouling species increased with host size. Amphipods I. commensalis colonized the carapace and limbs in Dolgaya Bay less frequently than in Dalnezelenetskaya Bay, probably due to interspecific competition with barnacles occupying the dorsal parts of the host. Juvenile barnacles and mussels dominated the fouling communities on the crabs. The age of barnacles did not exceed 2–4 months. However, the presence of 4-year-old mussels suggests that these older mollusks have been directly transferred from mussel beds to the hosts. Our results indicate that colonization by epibionts and symbionts is generally not disadvantageous for the crab hosts, except for some possible negative impacts of amphipods occupying the gills.


Paralithodes camtschaticus Fouling community Fjord Barents sea Infestation indices 



We thank to S. A. Kuzmin and T. A. Britayev for the organization of the research logistics and sampling and their valuable discussions. We are grateful to E. A. Frolova, N. N. Panteleeva and E. N. Nikulina who helped in identification of polychaete and hydrozoan species. Our special thanks are due to J. Muehlbauer, D. Piepenburg, M. M. Kalin and C. Sierra for English corrections. M. Biron, I. J. McGaw and an anonymous referee provided excellent criticisms to improve this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander G. Dvoretsky
    • 1
  • Vladimir G. Dvoretsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Murmansk Marine Biological InstituteMurmanskRussia

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