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The Biology of burrowing crustaceans in seagrass meadows of the Spermonde archipelago, Indonesia

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Citation:
Kneer, D. , Priosambodo, D. and Asmus, H. (2010): The Biology of burrowing crustaceans in seagrass meadows of the Spermonde archipelago, Indonesia , World Seagrass Conference, Phuket, Thailand. .
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Abstract:

The Spermonde Archipelago is located on the Southwestern tip of South Sulawesi and consists of a large group of islands and submerged coral reefs which are located on a shelf platform. The islands are separated from open marine settings by a discontinuous barriere reef which runs along the shelf edge. Many of the islands are crowned by coral cays and the reef flat surrounding these cays is covered by a vergetation of Halophila ovalis, Halodule uninervis, Cymodocea rotundata, Syringodium isoetifolium, Thalassia hemprichii and Enhalus acoroides. Burrowing crustaceans are abundant in seagrass meadows and also in sandy areas surrounding them. The dominant species in exposed meadows are Corallianassa coutierei (Axiidae: Callinanassidae) and Neaxius acanthus (Axiidae: Strahlaxiidae). Both construct burrows with a very stable lining and catch detached seagrass leaves which float past their burrow openings. In more sheltered intertidal areas Alpheus macellarius (Alpheidae), typically associated with the goby Cryptocentrus caeruleomaculatus or a closely related goby, and Glypturus armatus (Axiidae: Callianassidae) are the most conspicuous burrowing crustaceans. A. macellarius harvests living seagrass leaves in the vicinity of the burrow opening and transports them into the burrow, while G. armatus is a deposit feeder which constructs large expulsion mounds and sediment funnels. Subtidal meadows change rather abruptly into a moonscape of expulsion mounds and funnels created by the deposit-feeding Neocallichirus sp. (Axiidae: Callianassidae) at a depth of around 2 m below the low tide line. Burrows created by stomatopods such as for example Lysiosquillina maculata can be found in all meadow types. Other thalassinid shrimp with a more cryptic lifestyle include Calliaxina sp. (Axiidae: Callinassidae) and Callianida typa (Axiidae: Callianidae). In the terrestrial realm of the coral cays a variety of crabs (Gecarcinidae and Ocypodidae) construct burrows. The species specific distribution patterns are probably determined by the lifestyle of each species and the type of their interaction with the seagrass vegetation.

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