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Diets of the Brachyuran Crabs Cancer irroratus, C. borealis, and Ovalipes ocellatus in the New York Bight

Linda L. Stehlik
Journal of Crustacean Biology
Vol. 13, No. 4 (Nov., 1993), pp. 723-735
Published by: on behalf of The Crustacean Society
DOI: 10.2307/1549103
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1549103
Page Count: 13
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Diets of the Brachyuran Crabs Cancer irroratus, C. borealis, and Ovalipes ocellatus in the New York Bight
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Abstract

The stomach contents of 146 Atlantic rock crabs, Cancer irroratus, 87 Jonah crabs, Cancer borealis, and 47 northern lady crabs, Ovalipes ocellatus collected from the area surrounding the former 12-Mile Sewage Sludge Dumpsite in the New York Bight were analyzed. In the dumpsite area, all 3 species principally ate, as quantified by frequency of occurrence and volume, polychaetes, especially Pherusa affinis, as well as mollusks (including squid), crustaceans, fish, and echinoderms. The proportion of mollusks by volume was significantly less in the diet of C. irroratus than in the other 2 species. Many of the taxa in the diets of the 3 species of crabs were among the dominant macrobenthic taxa, as determined by concurrent grab samples at 3 of the stations. At those stations, crustaceans were positively selected by C. irroratus, while cnidarians and rhynchocoels were not selected. In addition, the stomach contents of 27 O. ocellatus from False Hook Channel, a nearby shallower, sandy habitat, were examined. The diet of O. ocellatus at this site was >80% mollusks by volume, and the most frequently occurring prey was the Atlantic surf clam Spisula solidissima.

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