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Hyastenus Hilgendorfi (De Man, 1887) (Brachyura, Pisidae): A Heavily Encrusted Decorator Crab Inhabiting the Suez Canal

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This paper reports on a study of the associated epibiota of the spider crab, Hyastenus hilgendorfi (De Man, 1887), inhabiting the Suez Canal. Ten species of macro-epibionts were identified. The barnacle Balanus amphitrite, the tunicate Microcosmus sp., and the tube worm Hydroides elegans were the major epibionts recorded. The carapace was the most covered body part followed by the chelae in males and the pereopods in non-ovigerous and ovigerous females. Considerable variation in the various covering materials was found between males, non-ovigerous, and ovigerous females. Seasonality of coverage occurred, with males and non-ovigerous females heavily covered in winter but without coverage in spring. The extremely heavy encrustation in this species is unusual among pisid crabs. Ce travail porte sur l'étude des épibiontes associés à l'araignée de mer, Hyastenus hilgendorfi (De Man, 1887), vivant dans le canal de Suez. Dix espèces de macro-épibiontes ont été identifiées. Le cirripède Balanus amphitrite, le tunicier Microcosmus sp., et le polychète Hydroides elegans sont les principaux épibiontes identifiés. La carapace est la partie du corps la plus couverte, puis ce sont les pinces chez les mâles et les péréiopodes chez les femelles non-ovigères et ovigères. Une variation considérable concernant les divers matériaux recouvrant les spécimens a été observée entre les mâles, les femelles non-ovigères et ovigères. Une variation saisonnière existe, les mâles et les femelles non-ovigères présentant une lourde charge en épibiontes pendant l'hiver, mais en étant dépourvus au printemps. L'incrustation extrêmement lourde chez cette espèce est inhabituelle chez les crabes Pisidae.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Marine Science, Suez Canal University, Ismailia 41522, Egypt;, Email: wafaasallam@yahoo.com; 2: Department of Biology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3258, U.S.A.

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