Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 53–59 | Cite as

Distribution of gall crabs inhabiting mushroom corals on Semporna reefs, Malaysia

  • Sancia E. T. van der MeijEmail author
  • Bert W. Hoeksema
Biodiversity of Coral Reefs


Coral reef cryptofauna forms an important component of tropical marine biodiversity, consisting primarily of invertebrates dwelling in and on corals. During a survey carried out around the Semporna peninsula (Sabah, NE Borneo), the occurrence of gall crabs inhabiting mushroom corals was examined on reefs ranging from sheltered to exposed conditions. Out of 44 fungiid species, 19 were found to be associated with gall crabs. The gall crabs were observed at 85 % of the 62 studied sites, and their occurrence rates per site ranged between 0 and 25 %. High occupancy rates were almost equally distributed over the northern (sheltered) and southern (exposed) sites. Sites without gall crabs were all wave-exposed and predominantly under the influence of disturbances, such as blast fishing or relatively high nutrient loads.


Associated fauna Dacryomaia Fungicola Sabah Scleractinia Species richness 



The 2010 Semporna Marine Ecological Expedition was jointly organized by WWF-Malaysia, Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Borneo Marine Research Institute, Universiti Malaya’s Institute of Biological Sciences and the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, and was funded through WWF-Malaysia. The research permits for Malaysia were granted by the Prime Minister’s Department, Economic Planning Unit Sabah, Sabah Parks and Department of Fisheries Sabah. We thank the reviewers and Zarinah Waheed (Naturalis) for their constructive remarks on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sancia E. T. van der Meij
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bert W. Hoeksema
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Marine ZoologyNaturalis Biodiversity CenterLeidenThe Netherlands

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