Hippid Crab Population Structure and Food Availability on Pacific Shorelines
The population structure of hippid crabs (Emerita analoga and Hippa pacifica) was studied in temperate (California), subtropical (Hawaii and the Gulf of California), and tropical (Enewetak Atoll) localities. Beaches within those localities could be characterized as potentially food rich, food intermediate, and food poor, depending on their standard physical and oceanographic characteristics (e.g., upwelling, storm influence, location according to trade winds or prevailing winds). The data on H. pacifica gathered at Enewetak Atoll permitted statistical comparisons of reproductive status and crab size as a function of presumed food availability on a priori determined rich, medium, and poor beaches. Larger sizes of animals and higher percentages off em ales with eggs were found on beaches which had favorable locations relative to winds and currents. The insight gained by that analysis enhanced the interpretation of similar types of data gathered in Hawaii, the Gulf of California, and the California coastline; beaches favorably oriented with respect to prevailing winds and its effects had larger animals and a greater percentage of females with eggs. In California, comparisons could also be made between populations of E. analoga north and south of Point Conception, as well as between beaches on the Northern Channel Islands and nearby mainland beaches.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 01 September 1987
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