Scientia Marina, Vol 71, No 1 (2007)

Experimental studies on the feeding ecology of Munida subrugosa (White, 1847) (Decapoda: Anomura: Galatheidae) from the Magellan region, southern Chile

Patricia Karas
Instituto de la Patagonia, Universidad de Magallanes. Arenas, Chile

Institute for Polar Ecology, Kiel, Germany.

Matthias Gorny
Instituto de la Patagonia, Universidad de Magallanes, Arenas, Chile

Rubén Alarcón-Muñoz
Instituto de la Patagonia, Universidad de Magallanes, Arenas, Chile


Feeding behaviour and food uptake rates of the anomuran crab Munida subrugosa from the southern Magellan region (Chile) were studied under laboratory conditions. Crabs exhibited a marked preference for meat versus macroalgae, with uptake rates being 14 times higher. Different algal species were ranked according to structure and detrital cover. Observations suggest that scavenging and cannibalism, restricted to injured or moulting individuals, are regularly applied in the natural habitat, whereas active hunting is only performed on suitable prey. The main food resource is suggested to be of microscopic origin, given the time spent on typical food uptake movements for detritus and suspended food. The findings of this study, backed up by results of simultaneously carried out stomach analysis, proved M. subrugosa to be an opportunistic feeder that can make use of different forms of food uptake.


feeding habits; food choice; natural diet; anomuran crabs; Munida subrugosa

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