Scientia Marina, Vol 78, No 3 (2014)

Temporal changes in brachyuran crab diversity along heterogeneous habitat in a mangrove ecosystem of Indian Sundarbans

Shilpa Sen
Aquatic Bioresource Research Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, India

Sudeshna Mukherjee
Aquatic Bioresource Research Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, India

Atreyee Chaudhuri
Aquatic Bioresource Research Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, India

Sumit Homechaudhuri
Aquatic Bioresource Research Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Calcutta, India


The present study investigates the effect of different habitat attributes on brachyuran crab diversity in two different study sites in the Sundarban mangrove, India. The two sites differ in the level of anthropogenic intrusion and in the age of the mangrove forest. Seasonal changes in the environment and in brachyuran faunal abundance were recorded for three years. Species composition varied between the two habitats irrespective of season. The habitat heterogeneity and the recorded crab community was analysed by several univariate and multivariate statistical techniques. The newly replanted mangrove site showed lesser diversity than the natural one. Ocypodid crabs, mainly Uca rosea, dominated both study sites, whereas Uca triangularis was totally absent from the replanted site. Canonical correspondence analysis showed that the total acidity, total alkalinity, pH content of water, total dissolved solids, inorganic phosphate content of water, soil specific gravity, soil density and the physical constructions of the habitat play a crucial role in moderating the crab community structure. This study reveals that brachyuran crab diversity can be used as a potential indicator of the alterations of mangrove habitats.


crab diversity; canonical correspondence analysis; edaphic qualities; habitat heterogeneity; hydrological parameters; mangroves

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