Crab assemblage structures in sandy flat, muddy flat and mangrove forest microhabitats in a mangrove estuary of the Urauchi River, Iriomote Island, southern Japan, differed clearly among the three microhabitats, species and individual numbers being greater inside the mangrove forest than on the flats. A similarity index showed distinct differences in species composition among the microhabitat assemblages, primarily due to the differential distributions of dominant species, such as the soldier crab Mictyris guinotae, sentinel crab Macrophthalmus convexus and sesarmid crab Perisesarma bidens. A canonical correspondence analysis indicated that the differences likely arose from among-microhabitat differences in the physical environment, the mangrove forest being characterized mainly by structurally complex mangrove roots, lower soil porewater temperatures and higher relative substrate elevation, the sandy flat by lower organic content of the sediment and higher porewater oxygen amount, and the muddy flat by higher levels of sediment water and organic material. The findings suggested that microhabitat-related physical differences are important factors determining crab distribution patterns in mangrove estuaries.
Fisheries Science – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 23, 2017
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