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image of Crustaceana

Artificial habitat is often created to augment populations of commercially valuable species. The complex structure of the habitat provides refuge from predation. In Grays Harbor, Washington, this concept is being applied by constructing intertidal oyster shell plots for megalopae settlement of Dungeness crab (Cancer magister). Previous monitoring of these plots revealed a negative relationship between shore crab, Hemigrapsus oregonensis, densities and C. magister juveniles within the shell plots. The present study investigated the settlement of C. magister in the presence of Hemigrapsus. We also explored the ability of Hemigrapsus to prey on juvenile C. magister instars. C. magister megalopae avoided Hemigrapsus, whose presence was detected chemically, not visually. Results support the hypothesis that C. magister megalopae avoid Hemigrapsus when selecting areas to settle. Hemigrapsus predation upon juvenile C. magister, with carapace width of approximately 8 mm, begins to occur when the Hemigrapsus are approximately 1.5 times the size of the C.magister. Predation on C. magister early instars increases as the size ratio (C. magister: Hemigrapsus) decreases.

Un habitat artificiel est souvent créé pour augmenter les populations d’espèces à valeur commerciale. La structure complexe de l’habitat fournit des abris contre la prédation. À Grays Harbor, Washington, E.U.A., ce concept est appliqué en construisant des amas intertidaux de coquilles d’huitres pour l’établissement des mégalopes du crabe de Dungeness (Cancer magister). Un suivi préalable de ces amas a révélé une relation négative entre les densités du crabe Hemigrapsus oregonensis et des juvéniles de C. magister à l’intérieur des constructions de coquilles. Cette étude a porté sur l’établissement de C. magister en présence d’ Hemigrapsus. Nous avons aussi exploré la capacité de Hemigrapsus à se nourrir des stades juvéniles de C. magister. Les mégalopes de C. magister évitaient Hemigrapsus, dont la présence était détectée chimiquement, et non visuellement. Les résultats appuient l’hypothèse que les mégalopes de C. magister évitent Hemigrapsus quand elles sélectionnent les zones pour s’y établir. La prédation d’ Hemigrapsus sur les juvéniles de C. magister, d’une largeur de carapace de 8 mm environ, commence à se produire quand les Hemigrapsus ont environ 1,5 fois la taille de C. magister. La prédation sur les premiers stades de C. magister augmente quand le rapport de taille (Hemigrapsus: C. magister) augmente.


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