Shell Utilization and Size Group Analysis of Two Intertidal Hermit Crabs Clibanarius infraspinatus and Diogenes avarus (Decapoda: Anomura) From Kathiawar Peninsular Coast of Gujarat, India

Jatin V. Raval, Pradip Kachhiya, Paresh Poriya, Rahul Kundu

Abstract


Present study reports the shell utilization in relation to the body size of two hermit crab species that live in the same habitat and share the similar gastropod shell resources. The study was conducted at a rocky-muddy intertidal coast of western India where the gastropod shell resource for the hermit crabs is scanty. The hermit crabs Clibanarius infraspinatus and Diogenes avarus were collected and assigned to one of the three sized classes based on total body length of the hermit crab. Belt transect method was followed on monthly basis from January 2013 to December 2013. The parameters measured were: species of gastropod shell in which hermit crab resided, shell mass-length-width, shell aperture length and width, hermit crab species, mass and length of hermit crab, length of cephalic region, length of abdomen. Results revealed that C. infraspinatus and D. avarus were found inhabiting in the shells of 9 and 19 gastropod species respectively. Results revealed that 78% of C. infraspinatus selected the shells of Calliostoma tranquebarica followed by 9% Trochus radiatus and 1% Cerithium scabridum while 12% C. infraspinatus was also found in other shell species. 32% of D. avarus selected the C. scabridum shell followed by 26 % Cerithium rubes, 14% Cerithium morus, 11% C. tranquebarica, 5% T. radiatus while 12% D. avarus was also found in other shells. The exhibited shell utilization clearly indicated that larger animal size is a disadvantage for the sustainability of the population due to lack of big sized gastropod shells in the studied muddy shore. Demand for the large gastropod shells lead to both intra and interspecific competition. This study provides important ecological information supported by statistical validation on hermit crab shell utilization of the studied muddy intertidal zone.


Keywords


Morphometry; Shell Utilization; Muddy Shore; Western India; Shell Resource

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