Population demography and sexual maturity of the calico box crab Hepatus ephiliticus Linnaeus (Brachyura, Heppatidae) from Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Hernández, P. - Rombenso, A. - Pinheiro, M.A.A. - Simões, N.

 Population demography and sexual maturity of the calico box crab Hepatus ephiliticus Linnaeus (Brachyura, Heppatidae) from Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Latin American Journal of Aquatic Research 40(2): 480-486.In the symbiotic association that exists between cleaner shrimp Ancylomenes pedersoni (=Periclimenes pedersoni) and host sea anemones, specificity varies among populations, and shrimp are believed to search among different individual hosts for favourable positions from which to attract client fish.

 

Four laboratory-based experiments were conducted to test host selection of A. pedersoni between the following: i) Bartholomea annulata (corkscrew anemone) and Condylactis gigantea (condy anemone), ii) B. annulata, with or without a conspecific resident, iii) a previously known or unknown B. annulata, and iv) a previously known or unknown C. gigantea. Preference (active selection) was distinguished from mere passive association by comparing shrimp acclimation to anemones offered in choice and no-choice (control) situations. The results were analysed using asymmetrical ?2 contingency tables (in each experiment, n = 60) where expected frequencies were obtained with maximum likelihood estimators.

 

Shrimp acclimated more frequently to B. annulata than to C. gigantea, but they acclimated similarly to anemones with or without another resident and to those B. annulata and C. gigantea anemones that were familiar rather than unfamiliar. However, none of the ?2 values were statistically significant (?2df = 1 = 0.48, 0.19, 0.42, 0.42; overall p > 0.45), suggesting that preference may not be responsible for the association between adult A. pedersoni and its host anemones observed in the field. Differences in the frequency of association may be due to factors other than the active decisions made by shrimp when presented with more than one alternative host.

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