Intraguild predation by shore crabs affects mortality, behavior, growth, and densities of California horn snails

Ecosphere
By: , and 

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Abstract

The California horn snail, Cerithideopsis californica, and the shore crabs, Pachygrapsus crassipesand Hemigrapsus oregonensis, compete for epibenthic microalgae, but the crabs also eat snails. Such intraguild predation is common in nature, despite models predicting instability. Using a series of manipulations and field surveys, we examined intraguild predation from several angles, including the effects of stage-dependent predation along with direct consumptive and nonconsumptive predator effects on intraguild prey. In the laboratory, we found that crabs fed on macroalgae, snail eggs, and snails, and the size of consumed snails increased with predator crab size. In field experiments, snails grew less in the presence of crabs partially because snails behaved differently and were buried in the sediment (nonconsumptive effects). Consistent with these results, crab and snail abundances were negatively correlated in three field surveys conducted at three different spatial scales in estuaries of California, Baja California, and Baja California Sur: (1) among 61 sites spanning multiple habitat types in three estuaries, (2) among the habitats of 13 estuaries, and (3) among 34 tidal creek sites in one estuary. These results indicate that shore crabs are intraguild predators on California horn snails that affect snail populations via predation and by influencing snail behavior and performance.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Intraguild predation by shore crabs affects mortality, behavior, growth, and densities of California horn snails
Series title Ecosphere
DOI 10.1002/ecs2.1262
Volume 7
Issue 5
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description e01262; 17 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N