Ecology and Management of Crab Species: Recent Advances and New Challenges

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Marine Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2022) | Viewed by 18618

Special Issue Editor

Murmansk Marine Biological Institute, 183010 Murmansk, Russia
Interests: benthic ecology; crustacean biology; fisheries; aquaculture; biological invasions; Arctic shelf; Barents Sea
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Crabs are important ecosystem engineers in benthic habitats worldwide. Many crab species are important objects for fishery and aquaculture, and they command high prices in the global market. From a global perspective, real-time ecological data are required for the sustainable exploration of wild stocks, restoration of depleted populations, and development of reliable aquaculture techniques for commercial crab species both in freshwater and marine environments. New information is needed in the context of climate change, biological invasions, and the overfishing of many crab stocks in order to predict possible changes in aquatic ecosystems.

This Special Issue aims to improve knowledge on the ecology and exploration of marine and freshwater crabs, including distribution patterns, population dynamics, feeding biology, reproduction, environmental impact, effects of anthropogenic stressors, food web interactions, fisheries, aquaculture, and management of stocks. We encourage you to submit articles ranging from case reports to interdisciplinary studies.

Dr. Alexander Dvoretsky
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • marine and freshwater crabs
  • population dynamics
  • feeding ecology
  • reproduction
  • migrations
  • symbiotic interactions
  • predator–prey interactions
  • fisheries
  • aquaculture
  • biological invasions
  • management

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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20 pages, 3987 KiB  
Article
Epibionts of an Introduced King Crab in the Barents Sea: A Second Five-Year Study
Diversity 2023, 15(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15010029 - 25 Dec 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1557
Abstract
The biodiversity, infestation patterns, and spatial distribution of organisms living in association with the introduced red king crab Paralithodes camtschaticus were studied in Dalnezelenetskaya Bay, southern Barents Sea, in 2009–20013 to update a list of species, reveal long-term changes in this epibiotic community, [...] Read more.
The biodiversity, infestation patterns, and spatial distribution of organisms living in association with the introduced red king crab Paralithodes camtschaticus were studied in Dalnezelenetskaya Bay, southern Barents Sea, in 2009–20013 to update a list of species, reveal long-term changes in this epibiotic community, and identify key factors affecting the prevalence and intensity of infestation. A total of 90 associated species were found throughout the study period, or twice as many as in 2004–2008, reflecting relatively low similarity between these periods. Half of the species were found on one to three crabs only. Copepods had the maximum diversity (23 species). For the first time, macroalgae were found as epibionts of red king crabs. Overall, the highest prevalences were found for the amphipod Ischyrocerus commensalis (74.2%), the copepods Tisbe furcata (57.7%) and Harpacticus uniremis (29.4%), the amphipod Ischyrocerus anguipes (27.3%), and the fish leech Johanssonia arctica (16.2%). Redundancy analysis showed that host size was the most important driver of species abundance, followed by shell condition, water temperatures in the coastal Barents Sea in May and June, and sex. These factors, coupled with the range expansion of red king crabs and climate changes in the Barents Sea, provide good explanations for the differences between the 2004–2008 and 2009–2013 fouling communities. Distribution patterns for common taxa on the host reflect larval settlement patterns and/or relationships between the host and associated species. These results expand our knowledge of infestation patterns for the invasive red king crab and provide a reference point for further monitoring. Full article
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19 pages, 1662 KiB  
Article
Prey Selectivity in Juvenile Red King Crabs from the Coastal Barents Sea
Diversity 2022, 14(7), 568; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14070568 - 16 Jul 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1776
Abstract
The invasive red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, has become an abundant and important component in the food web of the coastal Barents Sea and can affect the structure and functioning of the local benthic communities through competition and predation. Although dietary composition [...] Read more.
The invasive red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus, has become an abundant and important component in the food web of the coastal Barents Sea and can affect the structure and functioning of the local benthic communities through competition and predation. Although dietary composition and feeding behavior of the crab have been intensively studied, prey selectivity in this species under natural conditions remains poorly defined. For this reason, juvenile red king crabs and benthic samples were collected simultaneously at five coastal sites in Kola Bay to reveal the species composition and structure of feeding habits and the diet of red king crabs. The results of stomach and gut content analyses coupled with calculated Ivlev’s indices indicated that 2–5-year-old crabs frequently consumed bivalve mollusks in relative proportions to prey field biomasses. At all sites, juveniles selectively rejected polychaetes. In soft-bottom communities, when the average density of Bivalvia decreased, the crabs showed increased preference for Gastropoda, Crustacea, and Echinodermata. As a result of selective feeding focused on infaunal suspension-feeding mollusks, juvenile red king crabs have altered the structure of benthic communities in the mouth of Kola Bay. Our results may have important implications for evaluating the consequences of the crab introduction and its population management. Full article
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24 pages, 3182 KiB  
Article
Trophic Niche Dynamics and Diet Partitioning of King Crab Lithodes santolla in Chile’s Sub-Antarctic Water
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010056 - 15 Jan 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2809
Abstract
The southern king crab Lithodes santolla is one of the most economically important fishery species in the southern waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A combination of stomach content and stable isotope analyses was used to reveal the potential dietary characteristics, isotopic [...] Read more.
The southern king crab Lithodes santolla is one of the most economically important fishery species in the southern waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. A combination of stomach content and stable isotope analyses was used to reveal the potential dietary characteristics, isotopic niche, overlap among maturity stages and sexes, and trophic relationships of an L. santolla population in the Nassau Bay, Cape Horn region. Stable isotope analyses indicated that L. santolla assimilated energy from a basal carbon source, the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera, forming the trophic baseline of the benthic food web. Moreover, the trophic position of L. santolla varied among late juveniles and adults, suggesting that the southern king crab does undergo an ontogenetic diet shift. L. santolla exhibited intraspecific isotopic niche variation, reflecting niche differentiation which allows the species to partition resources. The trophic relationships of L. santolla with the associated fauna suggested some potential interactions for food resources/habitat use when they are limited. This study is the first attempt to characterize the trophic dynamics of the southern king crab in the Cape Horn area and, by generating more data, contributes to the conservation of the king crab population and the long-term management of local fisheries that rely on this resource. Full article
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11 pages, 6530 KiB  
Article
Trophic Ecology of Juvenile Southern King Crab Associated with Kelp Forest: Evidence of Cannibalism
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 556; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110556 - 01 Nov 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2680
Abstract
The southern king crab, Lithodes santolla, is a well-known predator/scavenger species during its adult phase but its feeding strategy in early stages is less studied. This information is important to understand their role in ecosystems and to improve fishery management (i.e., stock [...] Read more.
The southern king crab, Lithodes santolla, is a well-known predator/scavenger species during its adult phase but its feeding strategy in early stages is less studied. This information is important to understand their role in ecosystems and to improve fishery management (i.e., stock enhancement). Based on stomach contents and stable isotope analysis, we determined variation in the composition of diet and niche overlap in vagile and cryptic phase collected within and outside a kelp forest, Macrocystis pyrifera, of Aguila Bay at the Magellan Strait in Patagonia, Chile. Results of juvenile stomach content analysis showed 60% dissimilarity between cryptic and vagile juvenile phases. Algae dominated the volumetric contribution in cryptic juveniles while crustacean dominated the diet in vagile phase. Exoskeleton of other king crabs occurred in 43% of juveniles with crustaceans in their stomach. This fact confirms cannibalistic behavior in the wild in this species, which is consistent with findings in massive laboratory cultures. There was no evidence of isotopic niche shift between cryptic and vagile juvenile phases. Overlapping isotopic niches of different-sized juveniles suggest that they exploit similar food resources. However, vagile individuals occupy a higher trophic position than cryptic individuals, which could suggest a switch in dietary preference, from detritivorous/herbivory within kelp forests to omnivory outside of kelp forests, and an increase in the level of cannibalism in vagile juveniles. Full article
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Review

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12 pages, 1277 KiB  
Review
Epibiotic Communities of Common Crab Species in the Coastal Barents Sea: Biodiversity and Infestation Patterns
Diversity 2022, 14(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010006 - 23 Dec 2021
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 5585
Abstract
Crabs are important ecosystem engineers in marine habitats worldwide. Based on long-term data, we analyzed the species composition and infestation indices of epibionts and symbionts colonizing the great spider crab, Hyas araneus, and two lithodid crabs—the northern stone crab, Lithodes maja, [...] Read more.
Crabs are important ecosystem engineers in marine habitats worldwide. Based on long-term data, we analyzed the species composition and infestation indices of epibionts and symbionts colonizing the great spider crab, Hyas araneus, and two lithodid crabs—the northern stone crab, Lithodes maja, and the red king crab, Paralithodes camtschaticus—in the coastal zone of the Barents Sea. The epibiotic communities found on great spider crabs were closer to northern stone crabs (33%) compared to red king crabs (25%). The prevalence of mobile symbionts (amphipods, Ischyrocerus, and polychaetes, Harmothoe) and common epibionts, such as barnacles and hydrozoans, was low on great spider crabs and high on the body and in the gills of lithodid crabs. Epiphytes were abundant on great spider crabs but not present on both species of lithodid crabs. Egg symbionts found on H. araneus and P. camtschaticus do not affect their local populations. Differences in the fouling communities found on the three crab species are associated with host size range, surface properties of their carapaces, and behavior patterns. Full article
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Other

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7 pages, 1395 KiB  
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New Records of the Hydrozoan Coryne hincksi Bonnevie, 1898 on Red King Crabs in the Barents Sea
Diversity 2023, 15(1), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15010100 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 975
Abstract
Coryne hincksi Bonnevie, 1898 (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) is a rare corynid hydrozoan that was first found in the coastal Barents Sea on the surface of other hydrozoan species and on the body of spider crabs in 1913. After the introduction of red king crabs [...] Read more.
Coryne hincksi Bonnevie, 1898 (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) is a rare corynid hydrozoan that was first found in the coastal Barents Sea on the surface of other hydrozoan species and on the body of spider crabs in 1913. After the introduction of red king crabs into the Barents Sea in the 1960s and their range expansion and population growth, colonies of C. hincksi were registered on this host as well. In this paper, we update a list of C. hincksi records on red king crabs and present a detailed description. Also, for the first time, we provide quality photographs of a living colony of this species. Despite relatively low prevalence rates (1.4–3.2% in certain years), currently in the Barents Sea, C. hincksi occurs on crustaceans thus exhibiting a predominantly symbiotic lifestyle. Full article
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7 pages, 2149 KiB  
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First Record of Nematode Larvae in the Amphipod Ischyrocerus commensalis Colonizing Red King Crabs in the Barents Sea
Diversity 2023, 15(1), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/d15010040 - 29 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1646
Abstract
In this study, nematodes were first reported in the amphipods, Ischyrocerus commensalis, collected from the introduced and commercially important red king crabs, Paralithodes camtschaticus, in the coastal Barents Sea in July 2022. Commensal amphipods were registered on all red king crabs captured [...] Read more.
In this study, nematodes were first reported in the amphipods, Ischyrocerus commensalis, collected from the introduced and commercially important red king crabs, Paralithodes camtschaticus, in the coastal Barents Sea in July 2022. Commensal amphipods were registered on all red king crabs captured (n = 70, prevalence 100%). Further laboratory analysis revealed that 11 out of 467 amphipod individuals (prevalence 2.4%) harbored single third-stage larvae of Hysterothylacium sp. l. (Nematoda: Anisakidae). The nematode larvae ranged from 0.63 to 6.10 mm in body length. Due to the low prevalence of nematodes and lower vulnerability of the host amphipods to fish predators, negative effects on the Barents Sea ecosystem through the range expansion of crab-associated amphipods and their parasites are unlikely. Full article
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