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Sediment Temperature Impact on Population Structure and Dynamics of the Crab Austruca iranica Pretzmann, 1971 (Crustacea: Ocypodidae) in Subtropical Mangroves of the Persian Gulf

  • Hanieh Saeedi
  • Ehsan Kamrani
  • Inga Nordhaus
  • Karen Diele
Original Research


Ocypodid crabs inhabit intertidal sandy/muddy flats of tropical and sub-tropical mangroves. Iran has three species of the genus Austruca. In contrast to A. sindensis and A. lactea, almost nothing is known about the population dynamics and its driving factors in Austruca iranica. Thus, population ecology and reproductive biology of A. iranica were studied in relation to sediment temperature and rainfall in a sub-tropical Iranian mangrove forest over a period of 13 months. Crab density and Gonado Somatic Index (GSI) were significantly correlated with sediment temperature (r2 = 0.87, p ≤ 0.05). Reproduction was restricted to spring and summer and ovigerous females appeared when both sediment temperature and rainfall had their maximum values. Rainfall triggered crab reproduction, but did not significantly correlate with crab density. Symptotic carapace width (L∞) and growth constant (k) were 16.9 mm and 1.0 yr. −1 in females (n = 251), and 18.5 mm and 0.9 yr. −1 in males (n = 325), respectively. Size frequency distributions in both females and males had a common asymmetrical bi-modal pattern with two cohorts. Total mortality was higher in females (2.74) than in males (2.29). The overall sex ratio did not differ significantly from the expected 1:1 proportion (χ2 = 20.50, p > 0.05). Size at the onset of maturity was 10.2 mm in females. In comparison to other literature on ocypodid crab species, this study revealed that A. iranica is a relatively slow growing crab, with low fecundity and mortality rates, and with a relatively long life expectancy of about two years. The results of this research are a key for establishing a management plan to conserve the population of A. iranica along the Iranian coasts.


Sediment temperature Population structure Reproduction Austruca iranica Planted mangrove forest Qeshm Island The Persian Gulf 



We would like to thank F. Seraji, H. Raesi, Mr. Parshan, and local people of Qeshm Island for their assistance in the field works and sampling. We thank R. Naderloo for confirmation of the crab scientific name change. We would also like to thank the anonymous referees for their helpful comments.

Supplementary material

13157_2018_998_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (25 kb)
ESM 1 (JPEG 24.7 kb)


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Marine Zoology-CrustaceansSenckenberg Research Institute and Natural History MuseumFrankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.FB 15 Biological Sciences, Institute for Ecology, Diversity and Evolution, Biologicum, Campus RiedbergGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany
  3. 3.Fisheries Biology DepartmentIslamic Azad UniversityBandar AbbasIran
  4. 4.Faculty of Marine BiologyHormozgan UniversityBandar AbbasIran
  5. 5.Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT)BremenGermany
  6. 6.School of Applied SciencesEdinburgh Napier UniversityEdinburghUK
  7. 7.St Abbs Marine StationSt AbbsUK

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