Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 2, pp 363–370 | Cite as

The effect of salinity on survival, bioenergetics and predation risk in the mud crabs Panopeus simpsoni and Eurypanopeus depressus

  • Yasoma D. Hulathduwa
  • William B. Stickle
  • Kenneth M. BrownEmail author
Research Article


The effect of salinity on survival, bioenergetics and predation risk was studied in two common mud crabs in the Gulf of Mexico, Eurypanopeus depressus and Panopeus simpsoni. Eurypanopeus survived better at low salinities (the 28-day LC50 of E. depressus was 0.19 PSU compared with 6.97 PSU for P. simpsoni). While low salinity increased energy expenditure and reduced food consumption and absorption, resulting in lower scope for growth, identical responses to salinity occurred in both species. Both species also had similar salinity-dependent patterns of hyper-osmoregulation. Because these physiological mechanisms could not explain differences between the two species in salinity tolerance, we explored the effect of salinity on competition for refugia. Eurypanopeus had higher resource holding potential for refugia, especially at low salinity. As a consequence it had lower predation risk to blue crabs in laboratory experiments. The higher tolerance by E. depressus for low salinities, and greater resource holding potential for refugia may explain why it has a more euryhaline distribution than P. simpsoni.


Predation Risk Salinity Tolerance Blue Crab Carapace Width Ammonium Excretion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium Port Fourchon laboratory for providing logistical support, and Cecil Yapa, Jerry George and Barry Aronhime for help in collecting crabs. Andy Fisher in Dr James Cowan’s lab assisted with bomb calorimetry.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasoma D. Hulathduwa
    • 1
  • William B. Stickle
    • 1
  • Kenneth M. Brown
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA

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