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AB 30:85-99 (2021)  -  DOI:

Impaired larval development at low salinities could limit the spread of the non-native crab Hemigrapsus takanoi in the Baltic Sea

Ola Mohamed Nour1,2,*, Christian Pansch3, Mark Lenz1, Martin Wahl1, Catriona Clemmesen1, Meike Stumpp4

1Department of Marine Ecology, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany
2Department of Biology and Geology, Faculty of Education, Alexandria University, 21526 Alexandria, Egypt
3Environmental and Marine Biology, Åbo Akademi University, Artillerigatan 6, 20520 Åbo, Finland
4Zoological Institute, Christian-Albrechts University, 24118 Kiel, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The Asian shore crab Hemigrapsus takanoi, native to the northwest Pacific Ocean, was recently discovered in Kiel Fjord (southwestern Baltic Sea). In laboratory experiments, we tested the salinity tolerance of H. takanoi across 8 levels (0 to 35) and across 3 life history stages (larvae, juveniles and adults) to assess its potential to invade the brackish Baltic Sea. Larval development at different salinities was monitored from hatching to the megalopa stage, while survival and feeding of juveniles and adults were assessed over 17 d. Larvae of H. takanoi were able to complete their development to megalopa at salinities ≥ 20 and the time needed after hatch to reach this stage did not differ between salinities of 20, 25, 30 and 35. At a salinity of 15, larvae still reached the last zoea stage (zoea V), but development to the megalopa stage was not completed. All juveniles and adults survived at salinities from 5 to 35. Feeding rates of juveniles increased with increasing salinity across the entire salinity range. However, feeding rates of adults reached their maximum between salinities of 15 and 35. Our results indicate that both juveniles and adults of H. takanoi are euryhaline and can tolerate a wide range of salinities, at least for the time period tested (2 wk). However, larval development was impaired at salinities lower than 20, which may prevent the spread of H. takanoi into the Baltic Proper.

KEY WORDS: Salinity · Larval development · Nonnative species · Kiel Fjord · Asian brush-clawed shore crab · Invasion potential

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Cite this article as: Nour OM, Pansch C, Lenz M, Wahl M, Clemmesen C, Stumpp M (2021) Impaired larval development at low salinities could limit the spread of the non-native crab Hemigrapsus takanoi in the Baltic Sea. Aquat Biol 30:85-99.

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