A new method for the estimation of foraging on the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis (O.F. Müller, 1776) by the red king crab Paralithodes camtschaticus (Tilesius, 1815) is proposed. This method uses the reconstruction of the size, number, and biomass of eaten sea urchins, based on fragments of their teeth and tests from the crab’s digestive tract. Data obtained by this method suggest that in shallow waters of the Barents Sea (Kola Bay, Dal’nezelenetskaya Bay) adult, most often, female and immature crabs predominantly consume juvenile sea urchins. The weight of sea urchins daily eaten by one adult red king crab was 0.2–8.0% of its body weight for sexually mature crabs and 3.0–28.0% for immature specimens. Damage inflicted to the S. droebachiensis population as a result of the crab feeding activity was estimated to be at least 10% of the sea urchin biomass in Dal’nezelenetskaya Inlet and at least 30% in Kola Bay.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 4, 2009
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