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AB prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/ab00720

Temporal and spatial dynamics of the invasive red king crab and native brachyuran and anomuran larvae in Norwegian waters

Helena Kling Michelsen*, Einar Magnus Nilssen, Torstein Pedersen, Camilla Svensen

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: This study investigates the temporal and spatial patterns of larval stages of the invasive red king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus, RKC) and co-existing native brachyurans and anomurans in a Norwegian fjord. It is one of few field studies describing the larval stage of native and invasive brachyurans and anomurans in the southern Barents Sea. Larvae were collected at 6 to 18 stations at roughly 1 to 2 month intervals over a 1.5-year period. To help explain timing in hatch of RKC larvae, the reproductive state of females was determined. The first larval stage of RKC was found in higher abundances in shallow bays, reflecting the spawning migrations of reproducing females. RKC was the first species among anomurans and brachyurans to release their larvae in Norwegian waters, and due to an extended larval release (January – May) their larvae occurred for the longest period of time in the water column. The native boreo-Arctic Pagurus pubescens and Hyas araneus released their larvae early in the year, starting in March. In contrast, larvae of the native boreal Pagurus bernhardus, Hyas coarctatus and Munida sp. were observed later in spring and summer. The combination of protracted hatching, high fecundity and high adult abundance of RKC are likely strong contributing factors to the species’ successful establishment in the southern Barents Sea and could favour the dispersal of RKC south along the Norwegian coast and potentially north into Arctic shelf areas.