Do the mangrove crabs Goniopsis cruentata and Ucides cordatus compete for Rhizophora mangle propagules?

This study provided the first volumetric quantification of herbivory rates on Rhizophora mangle propagules with the purpose of detecting trophic competition between Goniopsis cruentata and Ucides cordatus, two dominant mangrove-litter consuming crab species in the New World. We hypothesize that herbivory rates in mangroves where G. cruentata and U. cordatus coexist will be lower than in mangroves where U. cordatus is absent. A comparison of predation levels was carried out between mangrove stands with varying crab abundance. R. mangle propagules were consumed rapidly, herbivory rates were overall high and increased through time. Herbivory rates did not differ significantly between mangroves with and without the possible food competitor U. cordatus. Our study did not support previous literature indications of food competition between the two crab species, which have most probably developed competition avoidance strategies.

ISCED Categories

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0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology