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Free Content Distribution and host specialization in Tetralia crabs (Crustacea: Brachyura) symbiotic with corals in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

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Coral-symbiotic crabs of the genus Tetralia were found to be host specific, discriminating between species of Acropora. Host use was found to significantly differ from host availability in the community, suggesting some degree of specialization between congeners. Intraspecific differences in host utilization were also observed between color morphs of T. nigrolineata, with dark morphs using A. gemmifera more frequently and light morphs using A. tenuis. The distributions of Tetralia species were influenced by wave exposure and depth, with T. rubridactyla and dark morphs of T. nigrolineata almost exclusively found in exposed, shallow habitats. The abundances of T. rubridactyla and T. nigrolineata (both dark and light morphs) generally appear to be correlated with the abundances of their most frequently used host corals, particularly between depths.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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