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Senckenbergiana maritima

, Volume 28, Issue 4–6, pp 177–184 | Cite as

Behaviour and population structure of soldier crabsMictyris longicarpus (Latreille): Observations from a tidal flat in tropical North Queensland, Australia

  • Sabine Dittmann
Article

Abstract

Crabs of the family Mictyridae are common on sandflats of the Indo-West-Pacific. Activity patterns and population structure ofMictyris longicarpus (Latreille) were monitored in the Haughton River estuary in northeast Australia. The emergence of the crabs at low tide was intermittent and could not be related to lunar cycles, but the crabs were significantly more active on sunny than on rainy or overcast days. Of a total of 1494 crabs measured over a 14 months period, nearly 2/3 were males (951 crabs). No ovigerous females were found on the sandflat surface. Crabs active on the sediment surface ranged in size from 4.7 to 19.7 mm carapace length (CL). Distinct size-frequency distributions were identified for juveniles, females and males. The mean size of juveniles was 7.3 mm and of females 11.2 mm CL. Males showed a bimodal size-frequency distribution. The first mode (mean 8.5 mm) was clearly separated in size from the second mode (mean 15 mm). The population structure remained almost constant throughout the year. Juvenile and adult crabs showed different aggregation patterns and preferred different sediment types.

Key-words

Crustacea Brachyura Mictyridae tropical tidal flat population behaviour activity pattern 

Verhalten und Populationsstruktur der KrabbeMictyris longicarpus (Latreille): Beobachtungen aus einem Wattgebiet im tropischen Nord-Queensland, Australien

Kurzfassung

Mictyridae gehören zu den häufigen Krebsfamilien im Indo-West-Pazifik. Aktivitätsmuster und Populationsstruktur vonMictyris longicarpus (Latreille) wurden im Ästuar des Haughton River im Nordosten Australiens untersucht. Das Auftreten der Krebse bei Niedrigwasser war unregelmäßig, ein Lunarrhytmus wurde nicht festgestellt, aber die Krebse waren an sonnigen Tagen signfikant häufiger auf der Wattoberfläche aktiv als bei Regen oder bewölktem Wetter. Von insgesamt 1494 vermessenen Krebsen während einem 14 monatigen Untersuchungszeitraum waren 2/3 Männchen (951 Krebse). Eiertragende Weibchen wurden auf der Wattoberfläche nicht angetroffen. Die bei Niedrigwasser an der Oberfläche aktiven Krebse hatten Größen von 4.7 bis 19.7 mm Karapaxlänge (CL). Juvenile Krebse, Weibchen und Männchen hatten distinkte Größenklassenverteilungen. Die mittlere Göße juveniler Krebse betrug 7.3 mm, die der Weibchen 11.2 mm CL. Männchen hatten eine bimodale Größenklassenverteilung (8.5 mm und 15 mm CL). Die Populationsstruktur blieb über das Jahr weitgehend konstant. Juvenile und adulte Krebse zeigten unterschiedliches Aggregationsverhalten und bevorzugten verschiedenen Sedimenttypen.

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Copyright information

© E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine Dittmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Forschungszentrum TerramareWilhelmshavenGermany

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