Bryozoan Fouling of the Blue Crab Callinectes Sapidus at Beaufort, North Carolina
Abstract:This study examines the prevalence, intensity, abundance, and spatial distribution of fouling bryozoans on 168 blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, taken from an estuarine environment in the area of Beaufort, North Carolina. Three epizoic bryozoan species were found on the host crabs. These include Alcyonidium albescens Winston and Key, Membranipora arborescens (Canu and Bassler), and Triticella elongata (Osburn). The proportion of blue crabs fouled was 16%. Results indicate female crabs were significantly more fouled than males. This suggests that the prevalence and intensity of bryozoans are dominantly controlled by the migratory habits of the host, since female crabs spend more time in deeper waters of higher salinity where they are more likely to be fouled by bryozoan larvae. The ventral surface was significantly more fouled than the dorsal. The A. albescens colonies were significantly more abundant on the hosts' lateral spines, M. arborescens dominated the subhepatic sector, and T. elongata was most common around the mouth. The costs and benefits of epibiosis are reviewed. The bryozoan/blue crab relationship described here appears to be phoretic. This means there is minimal negative impact on the crab, the relationship is more beneficial to the bryozoans, and there is no special symbiotic relationship between the crab and the bryozoan.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1999-05-01
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