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Movement Patterns and Migrations in Crabs: Telemetry of Juvenile and Adult Behaviour in Callinectes Sapidus and Maja Squinado

  • A.H. Hines (a1), T.G. Wolcott (a2), E. González-Gurriarán (a3), J.L. González-Escalante (a3) and J. Freire (a3)...

Late stage juveniles and adults of Callinectes sapidus in Chesapeake Bay, USA, and Maja squinado off the Ria de Arousa, Spain, were compared for ontogenetic changes in movement patterns (speed, distance, orientation) and habitat selection (depth, substrate) using ultra-sonic telemetry and published information. After settling in submerged grass beds in the lower Bay, 20-mm juvenile C. sapidus disperse long distances into low salinity sub-estuaries to feed and grow to maturity in two years. Within the Rhode River sub-estuary, juvenile C. sapidus moved with a mean speed of 12 m h1 in nearshore shallows (1·1 m); whereas adults averaged 24 m h·1 in the deeper (2·9 m) channel areas and moved freely in and out of the main estuary. Individuals of both life stages exhibited a pattern of slow meandering (juveniles, 2 m h1, adults 10 m h·1) within a limited area, alternating with faster, directionally-oriented movement (both stages >50 m h·1) between meandering sites. Juvenile and adult males over winter in deeper water nearby, while inseminated females migrate long distances into high salinity areas to incubate the eggs. Callinectes sapidus completes the migration cycle only once per 2·5-y generation. Maja squinado settles on rocks in shallow kelp forests in the coastal zone, where they grow to maturity in 2 y. Juveniles moved slowly (0·5 m h·1) while meandering without directional orientation on shallow (4 m) small patch reefs during summer. After the pubertal moult in summer, adults also meandered slowly (1 m h·1) mostly on rocks at slightly greater depth (7 m). In late summer and autumn, newly mature and older adults moved with directional orientation into deeper (10·40 m) water for the winter, until migrating back to the shallows for the summer; whereas juveniles remained inshore on rocks for the winter. Adult M. squinado live several years after puberty and complete the seasonal migratory cycle several times during their lives.

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