Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

The influence of shell species and size on the shell selection pattern of Paguristes tortugae (Decapoda, Diogenidae) from Anchieta Island (Ubatuba, Brazil)

C. C. Departamento de Biologia Laboratório de Bioecologia e Sistemática de Crustáceos Dominciano, LauraL. M. Departamento de Biologia Laboratório de Bioecologia e Sistemática de Crustáceos) Mantelatto, Fernando

Shell selection by the hermit crab Paguristes tortugae Schmitt, 1933 from Anchieta Island (Brazil) was analyzed using the six most frequently occupied shell species in the field and taking into account the sexual condition of the individuals, the shell size and the shell species. The experiments were conducted under laboratory conditions and the shell species preference was estimated on the basis of the frequency that each species was chosen by the individuals. The preferred shell species and size were determined by regression analysis. The highest correlation coefficients were obtained for the relations between the hermit dimensions and shell dry weight. The ovigerous females preferred shells with larger internal volume: Leucozonia nassa (Gmelin, 1791) and Cerithium atratum (Born, 1778). In the experiment of shell size, males preferred heavier shells whereas females selected the shape characteristics of the shell, such as the aperture and the internal volume, which are probably related to the growth and offspring guarantee, respectively. In general, and independent of sex condition, P. tortugae showed significant selection among all shells utilized. The results suggest that shell selection by P. tortugae involves sexual and reproductive condition preferences.

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