A remarkable case of fiddler crab, Uca spp., alpha diversity in Wallacea
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A preliminary attempt was made to quantify the alpha diversity of fiddler crabs (Uca spp.) along a short transect across the interface between an intertidal mudflat and a largely Avicennia mangrove at Ambeua on the Indonesian island of Kaledupa in Sulawesi Tenggara, by means of visual counts within 2 m2 quadrats. An astounding diversity of up to six seemingly coexisting species per quadrat—and a total of seven such species within an area of 4 m2—was revealed. Four species of the ecologically equivalent sentinel crabs (Macrophthalmus) were also present in the quadrats. Seven fiddler crab species equates to more than half those known from Wallacea, more than one-third of all those known from Indonesia, and almost one-fifth of the entire Uca fauna of the Indo-West-Pacific.
KeywordsBiodiversity Brachyura Coexistence Indonesia Mudflat Wallacea
These observations were made whilst holding Research Permit No. 165 from Kementerian Negara Riset dan Teknologi, to whom I am most grateful for permission to carry out research in Indonesia. I would also like to thank the Coral Reef Research Unit (University of Essex) and Operation Wallacea for financial support, Lembaga Alam Mitra Wakatobi for use of their facilities including boat transport, Amy Exton for Research Assistance, Ian Hendy for levelling the transect, and Anna Barnes for general help.
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