The fat and the lean: Energy storage and food preferences of egg-carrying females of Hemigrapsus sanguineus and Carcinus maenas


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simon.jungblut [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

The Asian shore crab H. sanguineus first appeared at the French coast in the late 1990’s. It rapidly extended its range further north to the German Wadden Sea and recently to western Sweden. In the intertidal area, it co-occurs with the European green crab C. maenas. As the ecophysiology of H. sanguineus is virtually unknown, the physiological capacities of both species and their potential for intra-guild competition were investigated. The aim of this study was to specifically compare the energy deposition and dietary preferences of ovigerous females of both species. Females of H. sanguineus and C. maenas carrying immature or mature eggs were collected in April, June, August and October 2015 in an intertidal area of the Island of Helgoland, North Sea. Total lipid levels and fatty acid compositions were determined of both midgut glands and eggs. In H. sanguineus, total lipid levels of the midgut glands were clearly higher than those of C. maenas (40% vs. 10% dry mass, DM). Immature eggs were quite lipid-rich in both species with 30% and 25%DM, respectively, whereas in mature eggs, lipid levels decreased to ~15%DM each. A Principal Component Analysis of the fatty acid compositions of midgut glands and eggs revealed separate clusters for both species with C. maenas lipids more characterized by membrane fatty acids. In C. maenas fatty acids of midgut glands and eggs clustered together largely dominated by carnivory biomarkers. Fatty acids of midgut glands and all eggs of H. sanguineus formed separate clusters and trophic markers indicate a more herbivorous diet. Higher lipid levels and thus more pronounced energy deposition in H. sanguineus midgut glands indicate higher starvation tolerance for females, a potential competitive advantage over C. maenas. Direct food competition, however, seems negligible, as H. sanguineus prefers a more herbivorous diet than C. maenas. Deviating fatty acid compositions in H. sanguineus midgut glands and eggs suggest that this species may represent an income breeder, utilizing energy from both the midgut gland but also from dietary input. Most brachyuran crabs are capital breeders, which rely exclusively on internal reserves.



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Conference (Poster)
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Not peer-reviewed
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Published
Event Details
51st European Marine Biology Symposium, 26 Sep 2016 - 30 Sep 2016, Rhodes, Greece.
Eprint ID
42264
Cite as
McCarthy, M. , Jungblut, S. , Saborowski, R. and Hagen, W. (2016): The fat and the lean: Energy storage and food preferences of egg-carrying females of Hemigrapsus sanguineus and Carcinus maenas , 51st European Marine Biology Symposium, Rhodes, Greece, 26 September 2016 - 30 September 2016 .


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