, Volume 449, Issue 1–3, pp 249–252 | Cite as

Feeding activity of Callinectes ornatus Ordway, 1863 and Callinectes danae Smith, 1869 (Crustacea, Brachyura, Portunidae) in Ubatuba, SP, Brazil

  • Alvaro Luiz Diogo Reigada
  • Maria Lucia Negreiros-Fransozo


The feeding activity along the day cycle and the time consumed for extracellular digestion were evaluated in the portunids C. ornatus and C. danae. Swimming crabs were obtained from trawling in Ubatuba bay, São Paulo, Brazil, during both the rainy and dry seasons. In each season, daily scheduled samples were taken at dawn (±6 h), noon (±12 h), dusk (±18 h) and midnight (±24 h). All individuals were dissected and the degree of stomach replenishment was recorded. In order to estimate the time elapsed for extracellular digestion, crabs were fed, and groups were dissected at 30 min intervals to check the conditions of their stomachs. In general, both species show a higher feeding activity during periods of lower light intensity, as evidenced by an increased percentage of full stomachs in dusk and midnight samples. The obtained results support higher feeding activity at night in these species and indicate short time for extracellular digestion, not exceeding 8 h. Nevertheless, full stomachs were recorded in all sampling schedules. In this case, it should be considered that elimination of certain food items such as fish bones, mollusk shells and carapace fragments of crustaceans could take more time than other items. Additionally, some crab species could require a cycle of cell replacement in the midgut gland epithelium until they can take their next meal.

Portunidae Callinectes diel rhythms feeding activity swimming crabs 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbas, S. A. M., 1985. Predation of infauna bivalves by Carcinus maenas (L.) in the Inlet, S. Wales. In Choy, S. C. (eds), Natural Diet and Feeding Habits of the Crabs Liocarcinus puber and L. holsatus (Decapoda, Brachyura, Portunidae). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 31: 87–99.Google Scholar
  2. Bernard, F. R., 1979. The food of Hecate Straits crabs, August 1977. Rev. Fish. mar. Serv. Can. 1464: 1–23.Google Scholar
  3. Branco, J. O., 1996. Ciclo e ritmo alimentar de Callinectes danae Smith, 1869 (Decapoda, Portunidae) na Lagoa da Conceição, Florianópolis, SC. Arq. Biol. Tecnol. 39(4): 987–998.Google Scholar
  4. Brêthes, J. C. F., G. Desroisers & F. Coloumbe, 1984. Aspects de l'alimentation et du comportament alimentaire du crabedes-neiges Chionoecetes opilio (O. Fabr.) dans le sud-ouest du Golfe de St.-Laurent (Decapoda, Brachyura). Crustaceana 47(3): 235–244.Google Scholar
  5. Cannicci, S., F. Dahdouh-Guebas., D. Anyona & M. Vannini, 1996. Natural diet and feeding habits of Thalamita crenata (Decapoda: Portunidae). J. Crust. Biol. 16(4): 678–683.Google Scholar
  6. Choy, S. C., 1986. Natural diet and feeding habits of the crabs Liocarcinus puber and L. holsatus (Decapoda, Brachyura, Portunidae). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 31: 87–99.Google Scholar
  7. Fernández, L., J. Freire & E. González-Gurriarán, 1991a. Actividad alimentaria de Liocarcinus arcuatus (Brachyura, Portunidae) en la Ría de Arousa (Galícia, NWEspaña). Bol. Inst. Esp. Oceanogr. 7(1): 139–146.Google Scholar
  8. Fernández, L., E. Gonzálz-Gurriarán & J. Freire, 1991b. Population biology of Liocarcinus depurator (Brachyura: Portunidae) in mussel raft culture areas in the Ría de Arousa (Galicia, NW Spain). J. mar. biol. Ass. 71: 375–390.Google Scholar
  9. Fransozo, A., M. L. Negreiros-Fransozo, F. L M. Mantelatto, M. A. Pinheiro & S. Santos, 1992. Composição e distribuição dos Brachyura (Crustacea, Decapoda) do sublitoral não consolidado na Enseada da Fortaleza, Ubatuba (SP). Rev. Brasil. Biol. 52(4): 667–675.Google Scholar
  10. Freire, E., R. Muiño & E. González-Gurriarán, 1991. Diel feeding pattern of Liocarcinus depurator (Brachyura: Portunidae) in the Ría de Arousa (Galicia, NW, Spain). Ophelia 33(2): 165–172.Google Scholar
  11. Goodman, L. A., 1964. Simultaneous confidence intervals for contrasts among multinomial populations. Ann. Math. Stat. 35(2): 716–725.Google Scholar
  12. Goodman, L. A., 1965. On simultaneous confidence intervals for multinomial proportions. Technometrics 7(2): 247–254.Google Scholar
  13. Hill, B. J., 1976. Natural food, foregut clearance-rate and activity of the crab Scylla serrata. Mar. Biol. 24: 109–116.Google Scholar
  14. Kitching, J. A., J. F. Sloan & F. J. Ebling, 1959. The ecology of Lough Ine. VIII. Mussels and their predators. J. anim. Ecol. 28: 331–341.Google Scholar
  15. Lawton, P., 1987. Diel activity and foraging behavior of juvenile American lobsters Homarus americanus. Can. J. Fish. aquat. Sci. 44: 1195–1205.Google Scholar
  16. Lipcius, R. N. & A. H. Hines, 1986. Variable functional responses of a marine predator in dissimilar homogeneous microhabitats. Ecology 67(5): 1361–1371.Google Scholar
  17. Mori, M., 1986. Alimentary rhythms in Geryon longipes A. Milne Edwards, 1881 (Crustacea, Decapoda: Brachyura). Quad. lab. Tecnol. Pesca 3(2–5): 169–172.Google Scholar
  18. Muntz, L., F. J. Ebling & J. A. Kitching, 1965. The ecology of lough line. XIV. Predatory activity of large crabs. J. anim. Ecol. 34: 315–329.Google Scholar
  19. Negreiros-Fransozo, M. L., J. M. Nakagaki & A. L. D. Reigada, 1999. Seasonal occurrence of decapods in shallow waters of a subtropical area. In Schram, F. R. & J. C. Vaupel Klein (eds), Crustaceans and the Biodiversity Crisis. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands: Vol 2 pp. 351–361.Google Scholar
  20. Paul, R. K. G., 1981. Natural diet, feeding and predatory activity of the crabs Callinectes arcuatus and C. toxotes (Decapoda, Brachyura, Portunidae). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 6: 91–99.Google Scholar
  21. Perez, O. S. & D. R. Belwood, 1988. Ontogenetic changes in the natural diet of the sandy shore crab, Matuta lunaris (Forskal) (Brachyura: Calappidae). Aust. J. mar. Freshwat. Res. 39: 193–199.Google Scholar
  22. Pires, A. M. S., 1992. Structure and dynamics of benthic megafauna on the continental shelf offshore of Ubatuba, southeastern Brazil. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser., 86: 63–76.Google Scholar
  23. Reigada, A. L. D., 1999. Ocorrência nictimeral relacionada ao hábito alimentar de Callinectes ornatus ordway, 1863 e Callinectes danae Smith, 1869 (Crustacea, Brachyura, Portunidae) em Ubatuba (SP). Doctoral thesis, Bioscience Institute-UNESP: 112 pp.Google Scholar
  24. Seed, R., 1980. Predator-prey relationships between the mud crab Panopeus herbstii, the blue crab Callinectes sapidus and the Atlantic ribbed mussel Geukensia (= Modiolus) demissa. Estuar. coast mar. Sci. II: 445–458.Google Scholar
  25. Stevens, B. G., D. A. Armstrong & R. Cusimano, 1982. Feeding habits of the dungeness crab Cancer magister as determined by the index of relative importance. Mar. Biol. 72: 135–145.Google Scholar
  26. Stevens, B. G., D. A. Armstrong & J. C. Hoeman, 1984. Diel activity of an estuarine population of dungeness crabs, Cancer magister, in relation to feeding and environmental factors. J. Crust. Biol. 4(3): 390–403.Google Scholar
  27. Wassemberg, T. J. & B. J. Hill, 1987. Feeding by the sand crab Portunus pelagicus on material discarded from prawn trawlers in Moreno Bay, Australia. Mar. Biol. 95: 387–393.Google Scholar
  28. Wear, R. G. & M. Haddon, 1987. Natural diet of the crab Ovalipes catharus (Crustacea, Portunidae) around central and northern New Zeland. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 35: 39–49.Google Scholar
  29. Zar, J. H., 1999. Biostatistical Analysis. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River: 941 pp.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alvaro Luiz Diogo Reigada
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maria Lucia Negreiros-Fransozo
    • 3
  1. 1.Câmpus do Litoral Paulista, Praça Infante D. Henrique s/nUNESPSão Vicente, SPBrazil
  2. 2.NEBECC (Group of Studies on Crustacean Biology, Ecology and Culture) Depto. de ZoologiaInstituto de Biociências - UNESPBotucatu (SP)Brazil
  3. 3.NEBECC (Group of Studies on Crustacean Biology, Ecology and Culture) Depto. de ZoologiaInstituto de Biociências - UNESPBotucatu (SP)Brazil

Personalised recommendations