MEPS 209:189-195 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/meps209189

Symbiotic associations between anthozoans and crustaceans in a temperate coastal area

L. G. Jonsson1,*, T. Lundälv2, K. Johannesson1

1Department of Marine Ecology, Göteborg University, Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory, 452 96 Strömstad, Sweden
2Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory, 452 96 Strömstad, Sweden

ABSTRACT: While symbiotic associations between anemones and crustaceans appear to be common in tropical waters, few such associations are known from temperate waters, except for the symbiosis between hermit crabs and anemones. In this study, observations made with ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) suggested that certain shrimps (Pandalus borealis, P. propinquus, P. montagui and in particular Spirontocaris liljeborgii and Lebbeus polaris) associate with the anemone Bolocera tuediae and the cerianthid Pachycerianthus multiplicatus by aggregating beneath their tentacles. The lithodid crab Lithodes maja was also observed associating with B. tuediae. Laboratory experiments suggested that female crabs have a stronger association than males. The associations are presumably facultative commensalistic, as the species of crustaceans live as non-symbionts on the sea floor as well, and the 2 anthozoans do not seem to gain any benefits from the associations. In the field, S. liljeborgii had the closest association with both species of anthozoans, while B. tuediae was the preferred host of all associating species. The main benefit for the crustaceans to be associated with the anthozoans is protection against predators. In the case of the shrimps, access to a food source is probably also important.

KEY WORDS: ROV · Commensalism · Symbiosis · Bolocera tuediae · Pachycerianthus multiplicatus · Spirontocaris liljeborgii · Lebbeus polaris · Lithodes maja · Pandalus spp.

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