Diet, energy storage and breeding strategy of two ecological equivalents, an invasive and a native shore crab

simon.jungblut [ at ]


The physiology of the successful intertidal invader, the Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus, is essentially unknown. It is quite abundant from France to German coasts but information on food preferences, energy storage and breeding strategy are still lacking. Hemigrapsus sanguineus and its native ecological equivalent, the European green crab Carcinus maenas, were collected in April, June, August and October 2016 in the intertidal area of the island of Helgoland, North Sea, Germany. Midgut glands were dissected and in case of ovigerous females, additionally the egg masses were sampled. Lipids were extracted and the fatty acid composition was determined by gas chromatography. The lipid contents of H. sanguineus midgut glands was higher and more variable over the seasons than those of C. maenas (20 - 60% vs. ~20%, respectively). Trophic marker fatty acids revealed a more herbivorous diet of H. sanguineus, whereas C. maenas profiles suggested a wide range from more herbivorous to more carnivorous diets. The fatty acid compositions of eggs and midgut glands formed two separate clusters in H. sanguineus but both tissue types were similar in C. maenas. Hemigrapsus sanguineus stored much more energy than C. maenas and may cope better with longer periods of starvation. The invaders were able to build up and maintain these reserves by utilizing mostly low quality algal food. Further, H. sanguineus is an income breeder, utilizing recently eaten food for reproduction, whereas C. maenas is a capital breeder. The physiological properties suggest that the invader is competitively superior over the native crab.

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The Crustaxean Society Mid-Year Meeting, 19 Jun 2017 - 22 Jun 2017, Barcelona, Spain.
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Jungblut, S. , McCarthy, M. , Boos, K. , Saborowski, R. and Hagen, W. (2017): Diet, energy storage and breeding strategy of two ecological equivalents, an invasive and a native shore crab , The Crustaxean Society Mid-Year Meeting, Barcelona, Spain, 19 June 2017 - 22 June 2017 .

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