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On the diet of the invasive crab Charybdis longicollis Leene, 1938 (Brachyura: Portunidae) in the eastern Mediterranean Sea

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image of Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution

We present the first results on the diet of the invasive portunid crab Charybdis longicollis in the eastern Mediterranean. No differences were found between sexes, seasons, class size or infection by the rhizocephalan Heterosaccus dollfusi. Size differences were noted between crabs collected at different depths, with larger specimens at shallower sites, as well as significant interaction between sex and infection factors, with males more parasitized than females. Sex has had no bearing on food items. No significant impacts were observed of seasons, depth, class size, sex and infection on stomach fullness. Charybdis longicollis is benthophagic, with preference for infaunal and slow moving prey, as attested by the notable amount of sediment in their stomachs; the most frequent food items were molluscs, crustaceans and fish, similar to congeners. Microplastics were detected in a quarter of the specimens examined. Since the species is extremely abundant in the Levantine littoral and sublittoral, it is likely to impact the local biota.

Affiliations: 1: Museo di Storia Naturale, Sezione di Zoologia “La Specola”, University of Florence ; 2: Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research ; 3: Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research


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