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Positive Abundance and Negative Distribution Effects of a Gastropod on an Intertidal Hermit Crab

Peter T. Raimondi and Curtis M. Lively
Oecologia
Vol. 69, No. 2 (1986), pp. 213-216
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4217931
Page Count: 4
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Positive Abundance and Negative Distribution Effects of a Gastropod on an Intertidal Hermit Crab
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Abstract

Field experiments were used to determine the effect of a common intertidal snail (Nerita funiculata) on the use of space for foraging by the hermit crab Clibanarius digueti. Removals of Nerita resulted in an increased density of foraging Clibanarius, while additions of the gastropod had the opposite effect. The observed negative effect of the gastropod on individual hermit crabs appears to be food-related. Field surveys, however, suggested that the hermit crab population is limited by shell number, rather than food. Because Nerita contributes to the shell resource, its effect on the hermit crab population is positive. Nerita, therefore, has a negative effect on the distribution of foraging hermit crabs, but a positive effect on their abundance. Such decouplings of distribution and abundance effects are rare.

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