The importance of mangrove species association to the population biology of two sesarmine crabs Perisesarma affinis and Parasesarma bidens
The population biology of two sesarmine crabs, Perisesarma bidens andParasesarma affinis, was studied over a two-year period in twomangrove forests, one dominated by Kandelia candel and the other by Avicennia marina. Despite the fact that the mangrove forests werecontiguous, shared the same water supply and were less than 20 cmdifferent in tidal position, significant differences in population biology ofboth crab species were recorded. Individuals of both species associated withthe topographically higher Kandelia candel forest were more abundant,had a higher tissue organic content, higher gonosomatic and hepatosomaticindices than their counterparts in the Avicennia marina forest. Femaleindividuals of both species were also larger in size in the Kandeliaforest. These differences result in higher secondary production of the crabsat the Kandelia forest. By contrast, association with different mangrovespecies did not result in significant differences in the sex ratio, growth andreproductive periodicity, and size-specific reproductive output of the crabs.The results suggest significant influence by the associated mangrove specieson the population biology of the crabs, through processes such asmodification of the physical habitat fabric and/or provision of trophicresources of different quality and quantity by the mangroves. This influencefurther reiterates the bi-directional nature of mangrove-crab interactions andthe need to consider these intricate interactions in future studies on tropicalmangrove structure and function.
Wetlands Ecology and Management