Population density and size distribution, salinity tolerance, and feeding activity were examined in a western Pacific grapsid crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, that was recently introduced to the mid-Atlantic coast of North America. Seasonal abundance on a boulder/cobble shore (Crane Neck Pt.) in central Long Island Sound, New York, USA, during 1997–1998, ranged from 7 to 10 crabs m−2 averaged over the entire intertidal zone. Crabs occurred throughout the intertidal during summer and fall, but appeared to move from high to low elevations during winter. In laboratory experiments, H. sanguineus tolerated salinity down to 10 ppt for 7 d, but showed significant preference for 20 or 27 ppt over 10 ppt. The crabs readily consumed juvenile snails (Littorina littorea) and mussels (Mytilus edulis), as well as other common species of macroalgae and invertebrates occurring at Crane Neck Pt. High feeding rates and the ability to consume littorine snails up to 13 mm in height and mussels up to 20 mm in length suggest that this nonindigenous species has the potential to significantly affect the structure of rocky intertidal communities in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean; however, rigorous field studies are needed to accurately determine the impact of this recent introduction.
- Aquatic ecology -- Research -- United States,
- Invasive species,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/amy_larson/5/