Composition and abundance of decapod crustaceans in mixed seagrass meadows in the Paraguaná Peninsula, Venezuela

Joany Mariño, Maria Daniela Mendoza, BEATRIZ LÓPEZ-SÁNCHEZ


Thalassia testudinum Banks ex König, is the dominant seagrass in the Caribbean, being common across shallow shorelines. In the present survey, we evaluated the richness and abundance of decapod crustaceans in intermixed seagrass meadows at two zones in Paraguaná Peninsula, Venezuela. We collected a total of 584 individuals, which belonged to 22 species and were grouped in 13 families. Hippolytid shrimps showed the highest abundances, followed by penaeids and alpheids. Of the reported species, eight constitute range extensions: Achelous tumidulus Stimpson, 1871, Alpheus floridanus Kingsley, 1878, Chorinus heros (Herbst, 1790), Clibanarius antillensis (Stimpson, 1859), Clibanarius sclopetarius (Herbst, 1796), Latreutes parvulus (Stimpson, 1866), Panopeus occidentalis Saussure, 1857 and Processa fimbriata Manning & Chace, 1971. Statistical analyses showed the differentiation of the sampling sites according to abundance and species composition. The most influential species in the dissimilarity analysis were the shrimps Hippolyte obliquimanus Dana, 1852, L. parvulus and Alpheus packardii Kingsley, 1880, which had a cumulative contribution of 76%. Juvenile Penaeus schmitti Burkenroad, 1936 shrimps were abundant exclusively at one site. Such differences between diversity and abundance within localities may be caused by the joint action of coverage and heterogeneity of the meadows, which differed in stem density, leaf area index, as well as presence of macroalgae and dispersed coral boulders. We show that seagrass meadows in the Paraguaná Península are likely to represent an important habitat for the maintenance of diverse crustacean populations, especially for the juvenile stages of economically important species.

Iheringia Série Zoologia

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