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Diet of the Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis H. Milne Edwards, 1853, and potential effects of the crab on the aquatic community in the River Odra/Oder estuary (N.-W. Poland)

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The results of an analysis of the autumn diet of the Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis, are presented and the crab's effects on the most common species of the flora and fauna of the River Odra estuary are assessed. Examination of crab gut contents showed the diet to be composed of detritus (59.6%), vascular plants (10.7%), and animals, mainly copepods and chironomid larvae (10.4%). The crabs, kept for 2 months in tanks under abiotic and biotic conditions similar to those prevailing in the Odra estuary, diminished the biomass of aquatic plants (particularly that of Elodea canadensis) by almost 12%, and that of aquatic macroinvertebrates (26% reduction of chironomid biomass and more than 21% reduction of tubificid biomass), which, at a high abundance of the crab, may have an adverse effect on the composition of species of plants and animals in the estuary. Les résultats des analyses du régime alimentaire d'automne du crabe chinois, Eriocheir sinensis, sont présentés, et les effets de ce crabe sur les espèces les plus communes de la flore et de la faune dans l'estuaire de la rivière Odra (Pologne) sont évalués. L'étude des contenus stomacaux du crabe montrent que le régime alimentaire est composé de détritus (59,6%), de plantes vasculaires (10,7%), et d'animaux, essentiellement copépodes et larves de chironomes (10,4%). Les crabes maintenus pendant 2 mois en aquariums sous des conditions abiotiques et biotiques similaires à celles existant dans l'estuaire de l'Odra, diminuent la biomasse de plantes aquatiques (particulièrement celle d' Elodea canadensis) d'au moins 12% et celle des macroinvertébrés aquatiques (26% de réduction de chironomidés et plus de 21% de réduction des tubificidés), ce qui, avec une forte abondance de crabes, pourrait avoir des effets adverses sur la composition spécifique des plantes et des animaux dans l'estuaire.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Fisheries Management in Open Waters, Faculty of Food Sciences and Fisheries, Westpomeranian University of Technology, ul. Kazimierza Krolewicza 4, PL-71-550 Szczecin, Poland; 2: Department of Fish Biology, Faculty of Food Sciences and Fisheries, Westpomeranian University of Technology, ul. Kazimierza Krolewicza 4, PL-71-550 Szczecin, Poland


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