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The natural diet Of Arenaeus Cribrarius (Decapoda, Brachyura, Portunidae) on two arid beaches in western Venezuela

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The natural diet of the speckled swimming crab, Arenaeus cribrarius, a species of potential commercial value, was analysed on two shallow beaches along the western, semi-arid coast of Venezuela. On the beach of Ensenada de La Vela, 211 specimens were captured (no ovigerous females), and 332 on Cumarebo (including 26 ovigerous and 14 non-ovigerous adult females). Stomach contents at La Vela consisted mostly of sediment (31.4%), crustaceans (23.3%), fish (14.4%), and molluscs (14.1%), while at Cumarebo they consisted primarily of sediment (39.3%), crustaceans (29.8%), and fish (14.9%). Crustaceans were consumed significantly more frequently in Cumarebo, and detritus in La Vela. In addition, males took in significantly more plants in Cumarebo, as well as sediment in La Vela. Differences were also found between locations during the rainy season, and in La Vela between the rainy and dry seasons. Dietary differences cannot explain per se the larger size of males, nor the higher percentage of adult specimens and of ovigerous females in Cumarebo; however, these observations might be induced by the transport of nutrients by two freshwater sources to the neighbouring marine area. Further ecological features should be studied in Cumarebo in order to determine if a commercial fishery of A. cribrarius would potentially be viable. La dieta natural de la jaiba pintada Arenaeus cribrarius, una especie con potencial valor económico, fue analizada en dos playas someras localizadas en la costa semiárida occidental de Venezuela. Se capturaron 211 especímenes en La Vela (ninguna hembra ovígera) y 332 en Cumarebo (26 ovígeras y 14 hembras adultas no ovígeras). El contenido estomacal en La Vela consistió en su mayoría en sedimentos (31.4%), crustáceos (23.3%), peces (14.4%) y moluscos (14.1%), mientras que en Cumarebo, consistió primordialmente de sedimentos (39.3%), crustáceos (29.8%) y peces (14.9%). Los crustáceos fueron consumidos significativamente en mayor cantidad en Cumarebo, y el detritus en La Vela. Adicionalmente, los machos ingirieron significativamente más plantas en Cumarebo, así como sedimento en La Vela. También se encontraron diferencias entre localidades durante la estación lluviosa, y en La Vela entre las estaciones lluviosa y seca. Las diferencias dietéticas no pueden explicar por sí solas los tamaños más grandes de los machos, ni el mayor porcentaje de adultos y de hembras ovígeras en Cumarebo; sin embargo, estas observaciones pueden estar inducidas por el transporte de nutrientes por dos fuentes de agua dulce cercanas al área marina. Se deben realizar más estudios ecológicos en Cumarebo para determinar si es factible la pesquería comercial de A. cribrarius.


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