Influence of habitat heterogeneity on the assemblages and shell use of hermit crabs Anomura: DiogenidaeReportar como inadecuado

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Zoological Studies

, 53:67

First Online: 21 September 2014Received: 04 April 2014Accepted: 09 September 2014


BackgroundTwo contrasting intertidal habitats on the western Sabah coast Malaysia, one is a rocky-sandy-mud flat at Sepangar N6°02′18.57″; E116°06′40.07″ and the other is a mangrove foreshore at Sulaman N6°15′33.00″; E116°18′49.80″, are characterized by substrate zonation and homogeneous substrate mud, respectively. Hermit crabs are one of the most conspicuous benthic macrofauna at both sites. The study examined the influence of habitat heterogeneity on the assemblages and shell use pattern of hermit crabs.

ResultsThe heterogeneous intertidal flat at Sepangar five species supported a higher diversity and abundance of hermit crabs compared to Sulaman mangrove foreshore two species. Hermit crabs at Sepangar used a greater variety of shells 30 species compared to those at Sulaman two species. Zonation of hermit crab species occurred at Sepangar where Diogenes klaasi dominated at the high-tide mark and two Clibanarius species C. striolatus and C. merguiensis dominated at the low-tide mark. Considerable overlap in habitat use mid- and lower shore occurred between D. tumidus and the two Clibanarius species which appeared to influence shell use pattern.

ConclusionsThis study supports the work of others showing that structurally complex habitats will allow habitat partition among species thus explaining the greater diversity and abundance of hermit crabs. Such a heterogeneous habitat provides a wider choice of shells for the hermit crabs, minimizing interspecific competition for the available shell resources.

KeywordsHermit crabs Diversity Habitat heterogeneity Tropical intertidal Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s40555-014-0067-6 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Hong Wooi Teoh - Muhammad Ali Syed Hussein - Ving Ching Chong


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