Evidence of marine debris usage by the ghost crab Ocypode quadrata (Fabricius, 1787)

Marine Pollution Bulletin
Leonardo L CostaIlana R Zalmon

Abstract

Sandy beaches are sites of marine debris stranding, but the interaction of beach biota with waste is poorly studied. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the ghost crab Ocypode quadrata selects marine debris by types using a non-destructive method on sandy beaches of Southeastern Brazil. We found marine debris in 7% of 1696 surveyed burrows, and the ghost crabs selectivity was mainly by soft plastic (30%), straw (11%), rope (6%) and foam (4%). Burrows with marine debris showed higher occupation rate (~68%) compared to burrows without debris (~28%), indicating that these materials may increase the capacity of ghost crabs to memorize their burrows placement (homing). The percentage of marine debris was not always related to their amount in the drift line, but ghost crabs used more debris near urbanized areas. Future studies should test whether ghost crabs are using marine debris for feeding, homing or other mechanisms.

Citations

Aug 23, 2021·Marine Pollution Bulletin·Maria Christina Barbosa de Araújo, Monica Ferreira da Costa

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