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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 537, Issue 1–3, pp 217–228 | Cite as

Population structure of the South American Estuarine crab, Chasmagnathus granulatus (Brachyura: Varunidae) near the southern limit of its geographical distribution: comparison with northern populations

  • Claudia Bas
  • Tomás Luppi
  • Eduardo Spivak
Article

Abstract

Crabs are among the most conspicuous and ecologically important invertebrates of the large intertidal zones that characterize estuarine and protected coastal areas in temperate regions. The habitat, population structure and breeding cycle of Chasmagnathus granulatus (Brachyura: Varunidae), a semiterrestrial burrowing crab endemic to the warm temperate coasts of the Southwestern Atlantic, were studied in San Antonio Bay (Argentina), near the southern limit of its range. San Antonio Bay has no freshwater input, winter is relatively colder, and summer warmer, than northern habitats of this species. Crabs lived both in vegetated and unvegetated zones, but density and sex ratio varied among dates and zones. The maximum observed density was 136 crabs/m2 , the maximum carapace width (CW) was 32 mm (males) and 29.8 mm (females), ovigerous females were found only in November and January, and the smallest ovigerous female measured 17 mm CW. The population structure, spatial distribution, and recruitment pattern of C. granulatusdid not differ between San Antonio Bay and northern habitats. The higher density, smaller maximum size and shorter reproductive cycle observed in San Antonio cannot be atributed to changes associated with a latitudinal cline and other factors, such as thermal amplitude and food availability, need to be studied.

Keywords

Chasmagnathus granulatus breeding cycles sex ratio population structure temperature 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de Mar Del PlataMar del PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Comisión Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Argentina

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