The importance of shell occupation and shell availability in the hermit crab Pagurus brevidactylus (Stimpson, 1859) (Paguridae) population from the southern Atlantic
Abstract:Gastropod shell availability and utilization by the hermit crab Pagurus brevidactylus (Stimpson, 1859) at Anchieta Island, Brazil, were determined as part of a long-term effort to understand the dynamics of hermit crab shell utilization. All shells occupied by these hermits, found empty, or with live gastropods were collected monthly, from January–December 2000, by SCUBA divers. A total of 3704 gastropod shells of 32 species was collected (1528 were occupied by crabs, 1943 had live gastropods, and 233 were empty). Shells of two of the four most common gastropod species in the field [Cerithium atratum (Born, 1778) and Morula nodulosa (C. B. Adams, 1845)] were also the most occupied by P. brevidactylus. The morphometric relationships that best describe the association between hermits and their shells were those involving the dimensions of the crabs and shell internal volume and dry weight. The shell occupation pattern of P. brevidactylus is correlated with shell availability in the field, although the hermits also have the capacity to select shells according to their dimensions.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2004
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