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Habitat use by the hymenosomatid crab Amarinus lacustris (Chilton) in two south-eastern Australian rivers

Johnston, K. and Robson, B.J. (2005) Habitat use by the hymenosomatid crab Amarinus lacustris (Chilton) in two south-eastern Australian rivers. Marine and Freshwater Research, 56 (1). pp. 37-44.

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The hymenosomatid crab Amarinus lacustris is abundant in some south-eastern Australian rivers; however, little is known of its ecology. Patterns of habitat use by crabs in rivers may be affected by seasonal changes in river discharge. This study investigates population characteristics, timing of reproduction and patterns of habitat use by A. lacustris in five riffle and pool habitats from each of the Hopkins and Merri Rivers in south-west Victoria, Australia, sampled over a twelve-month period. Distribution of Amarinus lacustris was similar between the two rivers, but log-linear modelling showed that there was a strong association between crab sex, habitat occupied and time of year because female A. lacustris showed a shift from riffle to pool habitats during March and April, coinciding with the non-gravid period of the year. Male crabs also showed a change in relative occurrence, occurring most often in riffles during winter–spring (July–November) but being equally common in both habitats in summer–autumn (January–May). These patterns are probably the result of the reproductive cycle of A. lacustris, which appears to show both ontogenetic and sex-related changes in habitat use during its life cycle, taking advantage of seasonal fluctuations in flow regime that may assist egg/larval development and dispersal.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © CSIRO 2005
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