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Daytime activity and habitat preferences of two sympatric hermit crab species (Decapoda: Anomura: Coenobita)

Title data

Steibl, Sebastian ; Laforsch, Christian:
Daytime activity and habitat preferences of two sympatric hermit crab species (Decapoda: Anomura: Coenobita).
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Vol. 231 (December 2019) . - No. 106482.
ISSN 0272-7714
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2019.106482

Abstract in another language

The beach environment is extremely dynamic in space and time. Abiotic factors like tides, sun exposure or sediment structure are defining the ecology of the beach-associated fauna. Among the most common beach-dwelling organisms of tropical and subtropical shores are the hermit crabs of the genus Coenobita (Latreille, 1829) (Decapoda: Anomura). They utilize gastropod shells to protect against predators, to avoid desiccation and disruption by wave action and further show behavioural adaptations, like burrowing in the substratum to withstand the abiotic stressors of coasts. Little is known, however, if the abiotic factors of the beach habitat influence the daytime activity and habitat preferences. We therefore analysed the changes in abundance during daytime, at different tidal times and in different coastal habitats in a community of two sympatric Coenobita species, C. rugosus and C. perlatus. We hypothesized that habitat, daytime and tidal time influenced the overall abundance. Here, we showed that hermit crabs became largely absent during midday, while their highest diurnal activity laid in the two hours before low tide until absolute low tide. Structurally more complex beach types were preferred over pure fine sand or rock beaches. These behaviours and preferences of the investigated hermit crabs are adaptive as they aid in avoiding desiccation, while becoming most active when food availability is highest during low tide. Heterogenous beach habitats are probably favoured over homogenous sandy beaches, because accumulation of marine debris, a major food source, is increased. This emphasizes, how physically controlled the distribution of beach-dwelling organisms is and demonstrates how abiotic stressors can become major drivers for behavioural adaptations in beach crustaceans.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER154323
Keywords: Activity patterns; Behavioural responses; Coenobita perlatus; Coenobita rugosus; Circadian rhythms; Habitat selection
Institutions of the University: Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology I > Chair Animal Ecology I - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christian Laforsch
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
500 Science > 570 Life sciences, biology
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2020 09:49
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2020 09:59
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/53773