AB 24:117-126 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00641

Co-occurrence of juvenile horseshoe crabs Tachypleus tridentatus and Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda in an estuarine bay, southwestern China

Chang-Po Chen1,2, Ming-Che Yang3, Lan-Feng Fan3, Guanglong Qiu1, Yong-Yan Liao4,5, Hwey-Lian Hsieh3,*

1Guangxi Key Lab of Mangrove Conservation and Utilization, Guangxi Mangrove Research Center, Guangxi Academy of Sciences, Beihai 536000, PR China
2Taiwan Wetland Society, Hsinchu 300, Taiwan 115, ROC
3Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei, Taiwan 115, ROC
4Ocean School of Qinzhou University, Qinzhou 535000, PR China
5Guangxi Key Laboratory of Beibu Gulf Marine Biodiversity Conservation, Qinzhou University, Qinzhou 535000, PR China
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Spawning and nursery habitats are critical in the conservation of horseshoe crabs. We examined the abundance and distribution of juveniles of 2 species of horseshoe crabs, Tachypleus tridentatus and Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda, in a mangrove-vegetated estuary (Pearl Bay, Guangxi, China). Intertidal sampling and measurement of environmental variables were carried out in October 2014 at 4 sites spanning ~6.3 km from the inner to the outer bay. Both species were found at the 2 innermost mangrove sites but not at the outer 2 sites. Densities were higher than recorded in previous studies, 0.24 ind. m-2 for C. rotundicauda and 0.05 ind. m-2 for T. tridentatus. Although only 12 of the latter species were found, they appeared to be more abundant in more seaward, energetic environments in poorly sorted sediments, whereas C. rotundicauda occurred in sediments with higher silt-clay and organic carbon content, and aggregated at the mangrove forest edges. These small-scale distribution differences are consonant with the species’ life histories, since only T. tridentatus migrates to the sea while C. rotundicaudata spends its entire life within or near mangrove habitats. International and national conservation strategies for these species should include further efforts to inventory critical habitats, such as Pearl Bay, in southeast Asia.


KEY WORDS: Juvenile horseshoe crab · Distribution · Mangrove · Tidal flat · Estuarine bay · Southern China


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Cite this article as: Chen CP, Yang MC, Fan LF, Qiu G, Liao YY, Hsieh HL (2015) Co-occurrence of juvenile horseshoe crabs Tachypleus tridentatus and Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda in an estuarine bay, southwestern China. Aquat Biol 24:117-126. https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00641

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