Brachyuran Crabs of Cochin Backwaters- Diversity, Habitat Ecology and Systematics, with special emphasis to Genus Scylla

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Brachyuran Crabs of Cochin Backwaters- Diversity, Habitat Ecology and Systematics, with special emphasis to Genus Scylla

Show simple item record Lakshmi Devi, P Anekutty, Joseph 2015-10-21T05:55:36Z 2015-10-21T05:55:36Z 2015-02-24
dc.description.abstract Among the decapod crustaceans, brachyuran crabs or the true crabs occupy a very significant position due to their ecological and economic value. Crabs support a sustenance fishery in India, even though their present status is not comparable to that of shrimps and lobsters. They are of great demand in the domestic market as well as in the foreign markets. In addition to this, brachyuran crabs are of great ecological importance. They form the conspicuous members of the mangrove ecosystems and play a significant role in detritus formation, nutrient recycling and dynamics of the ecosystem. Considering all these factors, crabs are often considered to be the keystone species of the mangrove ecosystem. Though several works have been undertaken on brachyuran crabs world –wide as well as within the country, reports on the brachyuran crabs of Kerala waters are very scanty. Most of the studies done on brachyuran fauna were from the east coast of India and a very few works from the west coast. Among the edible crabs, mud crabs belonging to genus Scylla forms the most important due to their large size and taste. They are being exported on a large scale to the foreign markets like Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Kerala is the biggest supplier of live mud crabs and Chennai is the major centre of live mud crab export. However, there exists considerable confusion regarding the identification of mud crabs because of the subtle morphological differences between the species.In this context, an extensive study was undertaken on the brachyuran fauna of Cochin Backwaters, Kerala, India, to have a basic knowledge on their diversity, habitat preference and systematics. The study provides an attempt to resolve the confusion pertaining in the species identification of mud crabs belonging to Genus Scylla. Diversity study revealed the occurrence of 23 species of brachyuran crabs belonging to 16 genera and 8 families in the study area Cochin Backwaters. Among the families, the highest number of species was recorded from Family Portunidae .Among the 23 crab species enlisted from the Cochin backwaters, 5 species are of commercial importance and contribute a major share to the crustacean fishery of the Cochin region. It was observed that, the Cochin backwaters are invaded by certain marine migrant species during the Post monsoon and Pre monsoon periods and they are found to disappear with the onset of monsoon. The study reports the occurrence of the ‘herring bow crab’ Varuna litterata in the Cochin backwaters for the first time. Ecological studies showed that the substratum characteristics influence the occurrence, distribution and abundance of crabs in the sampling stations rather than water quality parameters. The variables which affected the crab distribution the most were Salinity, moisture content in the sediment, organic carbon and the sediment texture. Besides the water and sediment quality parameters, the most important factor influencing the distribution of crabs is the presence of mangroves. The study also revealed that most of the crabs encountered from the study area preferred a muddy substratum, with high organic carbon content and high moisture content. In the present study, an identification key is presented for the brachyuran crabs occurring along the study area the Cochin backwaters and the associated mangrove patches, taking into account the morphological characters coupled with the structure of third maxillipeds, first pleopods of males and the shape of male abdomen. Morphological examination indicated the existence of a morphotype which is comparable with the morphological features of S. tranquebarica, the morphometric study and the molecular analyses confirmed the non existence of S. tranquebarica in the Cochin backwaters. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Cochin University Of Science And Technology en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Cochin University Of Science And Technology en_US
dc.subject Indian Brachyura en_US
dc.subject Diversity of Brachyuran crabs en_US
dc.subject Cochin back waters en_US
dc.subject Genus Scylla en_US
dc.title Brachyuran Crabs of Cochin Backwaters- Diversity, Habitat Ecology and Systematics, with special emphasis to Genus Scylla en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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