Feb 26, 2019

Interaction of the Atlantic ghost crab with marine debris: Evidence from an in situ experimental approach

Marine Pollution Bulletin
Leonardo Lopes CostaIlana Rosental Zalmon

Abstract

Sandy beaches pollution by marine debris imposes arguably threats for the biodiversity, but interaction of beach bioindicators (e.g., ghost crabs) with debris has been rarely assessed. We aimed to test whether the Atlantic ghost crab Ocypode quadrata (Fabricius, 1787) misidentifies marine debris as food sources. Cigarette butts, straws, popsicle sticks, paper napkins and styrofoams were mixed into solutions with odour of natural and industrialized food. The debris were placed around burrows on beaches with distinct human pressures (low, medium and high-impact). The species interacted with marine debris more frequently in situations of lower human impact, lower prey abundance and larger burrow diameter. These results indicate that in areas with low prey availability and larger individuals, interactions between ghost crabs and debris left by beach visitors and/or transported by winds and currents to low-impact beaches are more likely to occur, mainly near to urbanized areas.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Crabs
Behavior, Animal
Necrotic Debris
Food
CHS protein
Galathea
In Situ
Urbanization
Uca
Environmental Monitoring

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