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Incidence patterns of limb autotomy in the estuarine crab, Hemigrapsus crenulatus (H. Milne Edwards, 1837) (Brachyura, Grapsoidea) from a temperate estuary in the eastern South Pacific

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The first quantitative report about limb autotomy in decapods that inhabit the southeastern Pacific Ocean is here presented. The study analysed samples coming from the south of the Gulf of Arauco, central Chile, of a population of the estuarine crab, Hemigrapsus crenulatus in the course of one year. The number and type of limb lost were registered for each sex. Fifty-two percent of the males and 47% of the females presented at least one limb lost for all samples analysed. Limb types more frequently autotomized were the chelipeds of the males (32%) and the fifth pereiopods of the females (24%). These results indicate that this phenomenon recurs in the population, probably as a consequence of threats from predators or from intraspecific interactions (e.g., cannibalism). Se presenta por primera vez información cuantitativa sobre autotomía de apéndices en decápodos habitantes del Océano Pacífico Sur Oriental. Se analizaron muestras de una población del cangrejo estuarino Hemigrapsus crenulatus por un periodo de un año, provenientes del Golfo de Arauco, Chile central. Se registró el número y tipo de apéndice autotomizado en ambos sexos. El 52% de los machos y el 47% de las hembras presentaron al menos un apéndice autotomizado para el total de las muestras analizadas. El tipo de apéndice más autotomizado correspondió a los quelípodos en los machos (32%) y al quinto pereíopodo en las hembras (24%). Los resultados indican que este fenómeno es frecuente en la población, probablemente como una respuesta a las amenazas de depredadores o interacciones intraespecíficas (por ej. canibalismo).

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