The benthic decapod fauna in the channels and fjords along the South Patagonian Icefield, Southern Chile
Keywords:Southern Patagonian Icefield, benthic decapods, distribution
The species composition and distribution of decapod crustaceans opposite the South Patagonian Icefield (SPI) was analyzed by means of 33 Agassiz trawl hauls, taken during August 1995 and October-November 1996 from board RV Vidal Gormaz. A total of 13 benthic decapod species were found, and the material yielded a total of 248 individuals. In addition, the pelagic shrimp Pasiphaea acutifrons appeared in just one haul. The number of species declined from the Pacific towards the inner fjords. Brachyura was the most frequent group within all areas, whereas caridean shrimps were frequent only in the channels and anomuran crabs in the fjords. Altogether the decapod species covered the whole depth range of sampling between 45 and 1218 m. Species number of decapods in the waters along the SPI was low, compared to a total number of 46 species, which are known from the total area between Chiloé island and the Straits of Magellan. The low species number may be related to the impact of the glaciers in southern Patagonia.
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