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Biology of the king crab Paralomis birsteini on the continental slope off the western Antarctic Peninsula

Biology of the king crab Paralomis birsteini on the continental slope off the western Antarctic Peninsula
Biology of the king crab Paralomis birsteini on the continental slope off the western Antarctic Peninsula
Predatory king crabs (Lithodidae) structure benthic communities in their native habitats and cause shifts in the composition of benthic assemblages when introduced to new environments. Cold temperatures have apparently excluded skeleton-breaking predators from the continental shelf around Antarctica for millions of years, but recent increases in sea temperatures off the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) may be allowing lithodids to return. Imaging surveys have revealed dense populations of the lithodid Paralomis birsteini (Macpherson 1988) living on the continental slope off the WAP, but the biology of these populations remains poorly understood. We collected 51 adult P. birsteini in a trapping study on the slope off Marguerite Bay, WAP from depths of 1200–1400 m. Of the 51 crabs, 42 were males and 9 were females. Four females were ovigerous, carrying eggs at various stages of development. Rates of parasitism and limb regeneration were comparable to populations of lithodids elsewhere in the world, although the proportion of limb loss was relatively high. The parasite Briarosaccus callosus was obvious in both males and females, with one individual bearing hyperparasites. Gill necrosis was also observed in several dissected males. The success of the contemporary populations on the Antarctic slope suggests they have the potential to expand upward to the continental shelf.
0722-4060
2313-2322
Smith, K.E.
e0ef9ee5-258c-4afc-9840-9a977e10d221
Aronson, R.B.
f8ee6f7d-99bf-49f5-913e-91daf58c4221
Thatje, Sven
f1011fe3-1048-40c0-97c1-e93b796e6533
Lovrich, G.A.
7e1946a3-ab0c-46af-a6bb-128be8ecceaf
Amsler, M.O.
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Steffel, B.V.
2265aaf9-91d2-45ba-a8c0-b0d702916f91
McClintock, J.B.
67e63d8d-ab68-4b57-829b-bdf4c34fc984
Smith, K.E.
e0ef9ee5-258c-4afc-9840-9a977e10d221
Aronson, R.B.
f8ee6f7d-99bf-49f5-913e-91daf58c4221
Thatje, Sven
f1011fe3-1048-40c0-97c1-e93b796e6533
Lovrich, G.A.
7e1946a3-ab0c-46af-a6bb-128be8ecceaf
Amsler, M.O.
ee634453-0be7-484a-8157-f6ede2a7d862
Steffel, B.V.
2265aaf9-91d2-45ba-a8c0-b0d702916f91
McClintock, J.B.
67e63d8d-ab68-4b57-829b-bdf4c34fc984

Smith, K.E., Aronson, R.B., Thatje, Sven, Lovrich, G.A., Amsler, M.O., Steffel, B.V. and McClintock, J.B. (2017) Biology of the king crab Paralomis birsteini on the continental slope off the western Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biology, 40 (11), 2313-2322. (doi:10.1007/s00300-017-2145-9).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Predatory king crabs (Lithodidae) structure benthic communities in their native habitats and cause shifts in the composition of benthic assemblages when introduced to new environments. Cold temperatures have apparently excluded skeleton-breaking predators from the continental shelf around Antarctica for millions of years, but recent increases in sea temperatures off the western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) may be allowing lithodids to return. Imaging surveys have revealed dense populations of the lithodid Paralomis birsteini (Macpherson 1988) living on the continental slope off the WAP, but the biology of these populations remains poorly understood. We collected 51 adult P. birsteini in a trapping study on the slope off Marguerite Bay, WAP from depths of 1200–1400 m. Of the 51 crabs, 42 were males and 9 were females. Four females were ovigerous, carrying eggs at various stages of development. Rates of parasitism and limb regeneration were comparable to populations of lithodids elsewhere in the world, although the proportion of limb loss was relatively high. The parasite Briarosaccus callosus was obvious in both males and females, with one individual bearing hyperparasites. Gill necrosis was also observed in several dissected males. The success of the contemporary populations on the Antarctic slope suggests they have the potential to expand upward to the continental shelf.

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Accepted/In Press date: 12 June 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 21 June 2017
Published date: June 2017

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Local EPrints ID: 412073
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/412073
ISSN: 0722-4060
PURE UUID: 81ece7f9-c992-4fb1-97fe-70d78a730482

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Date deposited: 06 Jul 2017 16:30
Last modified: 27 Apr 2022 05:26

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Contributors

Author: K.E. Smith
Author: R.B. Aronson
Author: Sven Thatje
Author: G.A. Lovrich
Author: M.O. Amsler
Author: B.V. Steffel
Author: J.B. McClintock

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