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Diet composition of the bathyal crabs, Chaceon mediterraneus Manning & Holthuis and geryon longipes A. Milne-Edwards (Decapoda, Geryonidae) collected at different depths in the eastern Mediterranean

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image of Crustaceana

A large number of specimens of Geryon longipes and Chaceon mediterraneus were collected by a series of baited traps deployed at 11 stations in the Cretan sea and the Levantine basin, covering a depth range of 1511 to 3080 m. The two crab species were not trapped together in any of the traps, however.

Stomach content analysis of both species revealed a rather wide variety of prey categories (excluding the bait), such as Ascidiacea, Alcyonaria, Decapoda, Mysidacea, Amphipoda, and Polychaeta.

C. mediterraneus showed a highly diversified diet with Crustacea, Alcyonaria, and Ascidiacea being the most dominant prey categories. The diet variability of G. longipes is less than that of C. mediterraneus, but Alcyonaria and Ascidiacea appeared again to be the two most abundant prey categories. However, the diet compositions of these two species appear to be different, with only few prey categories in common. The vacuity coefficient value was lower in C. mediterraneus than in G. longipes, which seems to have a lower feeding activity.

Both species seem to exploit a variety of food resources. This makes living possible in the bathyal zone of the oligotrophic eastern Mediterranean. De nombreux spécimens de Geryon longipes et de Chaceon mediterraneus ont été pêchés grâce à une série de pièges à appât placés dans 11 stations, dans la mer de Crête et dans le bassin Levantin, à une profondeur variant entre 1511 et 3080 m. Cependant, ces deux espèces de crabes n'ont jamais été trouvées ensemble dans aucun des pièges utilisés.

L'analyse des contenus stomacaux des deux espèces révèle une variété plutôt grande de types de proies (à part l'appât), telles qu'Ascidiacea, Alcyonaria, Decapoda, Mysidacea, Amphipoda et Polychaeta.

C. mediterraneus montre un régime très diversifié, avec comme proies dominantes des Crustacea, Alcyonaria et Ascidiacea. La variabilité du régime de G. longipes est moindre que celle de C. mediterraneus, mais les Alcyonaria et les Ascidiacea apparaissent encore être les deux catégories les plus abondantes. Cependant, la composition des régimes alimentaires de ces deux espèces est différente, avec seulement quelques catégories de proies en commun. La valeur du coefficient de vacuité est moindre chez C. mediterraneus que chez G. longipes, qui semble avoir une activité nutritionnelle moindre.

Les deux espèces semblent exploiter une grande variété de ressources nutritives. Ceci leur permet de vivre toutes deux dans la zone bathyale de la Méditerranée orientale, pourtant fortement oligotrophe.


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