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Johngarthia lagostoma (H. Milne Edwards, 1837) on Ascension Island: a very isolated land crab population

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A study was made of the land crab, Johngarthia lagostoma (H. Milne Edwards, 1837) on Ascension Island in the central South Atlantic: aspects of its distribution, population structure, and reproduction are described. On Ascension it is normally limited to altitudes >200 m, the only parts of the island with substantial vegetation. The population comprised predominantly pale colour morphs, and few immature specimens were sampled. The significance of both factors is examined. The breeding migration to the shore was observed. Migrations occurred in February to April, varied in intensity between years, and were dominated by females. Migrants had to cross the bare arid lowlands, resulting in mortality. There are no recent records of the return of the juvenile crabs after the planktonic larval phase. Une étude a été menée chez le crabe terrestre Johngarthia lagostoma (H. Milne Edwards, 1837) sur l'île d'Ascension, dans l'Atlantique sud central : les aspects de sa répartition, la structure de sa population et sa reproduction ont été décrites. Sur l'île de l'Ascension, sa présence est limitée normalement aux altitudes >200 m, les seules parties de l'île avec une végétation substantielle. La population comprend des formes de couleur pâle et quelques spécimens immatures ont été échantillonnés. La signification de ces deux facteurs a été examinée. La migration de reproduction vers la mer a été observée. Les migrations ont lieu de février à avril, varient en intensité suivant les années, et sont dominées par les femelles. Les migrateurs ont à traverser les parties basses, dénudées et arides, qui sont cause de mortalité. Il n'y a pas de données récentes sur le retour des crabes juvéniles après la phase larvaire planctonique.


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