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1 December 2010 Temperature and Habitat Complexity Mediate Cannibalism in Red King Crab: Observations on Activity, Feeding, and Prey Defense Mechanisms
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Abstract

Laboratory experiments were conducted to evaluate how water temperature mediates the cannibalistic relationship between age 0 and age 1 red king crab (RKC) (Paralithodes camtschaticus), and the role of habitat structure in providing refuge for prey. We also observed the activity levels of age 1 crabs under light and dark conditions, and predator avoidance behavior by the age 0 crabs. Age 1 crabs (15–20 mm in carapace length (CL)) were active 24 h/day, but motion was about 33% higher in light than in dark conditions, and increased in direct proportion with water temperature (2–10°C). Feeding rate was also directly related with temperature for age 1 crabs, which consumed 7% of body weight per day at 2°C, and 20% at 10°C. Both temperature and habitat complexity had significant effects on survival of age 0 RKC (CW, 2.2–2.6 mm) when exposed to age 1 crabs (CL, 17–19 mm), with no significant interaction. Survival diminished 31% in a linear relationship from 2–10°C, and was twice as high in a complex structural environment compared with bare sand habitat. Predator avoidance behavior by age 0 RKC improved from juvenile molt stage 2 to stage 4. Increasing water temperature may serve to increase mortality by cannibalism in RKC, both in aquaculture and in the field, but survival will increase substantially in structurally complex environments.

Allan W. Stoner, Michele L. Ottmar, and Scott A. Haines "Temperature and Habitat Complexity Mediate Cannibalism in Red King Crab: Observations on Activity, Feeding, and Prey Defense Mechanisms," Journal of Shellfish Research 29(4), (1 December 2010). https://doi.org/10.2983/035.029.0401
Published: 1 December 2010
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