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Investigaciones marinas

On-line version ISSN 0717-7178


CARDENAS, César A; CANETE, Juan I; OYARZUN, Sylvia  and  MANSILLA, Andrés. Podding of juvenile king crabs Lithodes santolla (Molina, 1782) (Crustacea) in association with holdfasts of Macrocystis pyrifera (Linnaeus) C. Agardh, 1980. Investig. mar. [online]. 2007, vol.35, n.1, pp.105-110. ISSN 0717-7178.

Underwater photographic records and sampling were carried out in Steamer Bay, Strait of Magellan, Chile, to study the spatial distribution patterns of juvenile king crabs Lithodes santolla during late winter and early spring in 2006. Observations were made on the relationship between these crabs and the holdfasts and stipes of the large kelp Macrocystis pyrifera. Dense aggregations, known as “pods”, of juvenile king crab (34-75 mm CL) were observed and photographed for the first time in specific areas of the embayment in relation to Macrocystis; pod abundance varied between 2 and 70 ind·m-2. Maximum abundance was detected on plants having holdfasts > 15 cm in diameter and abundant stipes and sporophylls. The ratio between male and female abundance was nearly 1:1. This study attempts to bring attention to previously unknown ecological roles of the kelp M. pyrifera in relation to its associated benthic fauna in habitats near the southern tip of South America as background information on the ecological functions of this species prior to allowing its industrial-scale exploitation

Keywords : subantarctic benthos; seaweed-animal relationship; Lithodes santolla; shallow water; Strait of Magellan; Chile.

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