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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 515:151-159 (2014)  -  DOI:

Juvenile Trapezia spp. crabs can increase juvenile host coral survival by protection from predation

H. Rouzé1,2,*, G. Lecellier1,2,3, S. C. Mills2,4, S. Planes1,2, V. Berteaux-Lecellier1,2, H. Stewart1,5

1CRIOBE USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE-UPVD, BP 1013, Moorea, 98729 French Polynesia
2Laboratoire d’Excellence ‘CORAIL’, 58 avenue Paul Alduy, 66860 Perpignan, France
3Université de Versailles-Saint Quentin, 55 Avenue de Paris, Versailles Cedex, France
4CRIOBE USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE-UPVD, 58 Avenue Paul Alduy, 66860 Perpignan Cedex, France
5Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 4160 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, British Columbia V7V 1N6, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT:Adult crabs are known to play critical roles in the survival of their adult coral hosts, but little is known of the mutualism between juvenile crabs (≤0.5 cm) and their juvenile hosts. Field and laboratory experiments both demonstrated that the presence of juvenile crabs of the genus Trapezia in young host Pocillopora corals (2 to 3 cm diameter) increased coral survival by 32% and reduced consumption by the corallivorous seastar Acanthaster planci. These experiments also showed that juvenile Trapezia were not effective at deterring predation by another common predatory seastar, Culcita novaeguineae. Finally, our work highlights that the defensive ability of symbiotic crabs may be genus-specific, as juvenile Tetralia spp. crabs, obligate symbionts of Acropora spp., displayed no protection against either A. planci or C. novaeguineae.

KEY WORDS: Juvenile · Trapeziid · Corals · Acanthaster planci · Culcita novaeguineae · Mutualism · Predation · Defence

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Cite this article as: Rouzé H, Lecellier G, Mills SC, Planes S, Berteaux-Lecellier V, Stewart H (2014) Juvenile Trapezia spp. crabs can increase juvenile host coral survival by protection from predation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 515:151-159.

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