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1 December 2003 FIDDLER CRAB BURROW USAGE BY THE ASIAN CRAB, HEMIGRAPSUS SANGUINEUS, IN A LONG ISLAND SOUND SALT MARSH
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Abstract
The Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, was observed occupying fiddler crab burrows (Uca pugnax) at low tide in a Spartina salt marsh at Sherwood Island, Westport, Connecticut. Forty-seven percent (48/103) of the fiddler crab burrows censused were occupied by crabs. Of those, 81% held fiddler crabs while the remainder held Asian crabs. Fiddler crabs and Asian crabs were never found in the same burrow. Unlike the Asian crab, fiddler crabs preferred areas of the “marsh edge” where rocks and small stones were not present. Hemigrapsus sanguineus, which can be found under the shelter of rocks, shells, and other debris on tidal flats along the fringes of the marsh, probably searches the marsh edge as the tide recedes for unused burrows to occupy. Field caging experiments used to investigate possible competitive interactions between these two species indicated that the presence of the Asian crab had no effect on burrow utilization by the fiddler crab. It is unlikely that patterns of habitat use by the east coast salt marsh fiddler crab, Uca pugnax, will be significantly affected by the recent introduction of the Asian crab, H. sanguineus, to this area.
Diane J. Brousseau, Kimberly Kriksciun and Jenny A. Baglivo "FIDDLER CRAB BURROW USAGE BY THE ASIAN CRAB, HEMIGRAPSUS SANGUINEUS, IN A LONG ISLAND SOUND SALT MARSH," Northeastern Naturalist 10(4), (1 December 2003). https://doi.org/10.1656/1092-6194(2003)010[0415:FCBUBT]2.0.CO;2
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