Site fidelity and population structure of blue land crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi Latreille, 1825) in a restricted-access mangrove area, analyzed using PIT tags

Helgoland Marine Research. 2018;72(1):1-15 DOI 10.1186/s10152-017-0504-0


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Helgoland Marine Research

ISSN: 1438-387X (Print); 1438-3888 (Online)

Publisher: BMC

Society/Institution: Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

LCC Subject Category: Geography. Anthropology. Recreation: Oceanography | Science: Biology (General): Ecology

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Denise Moraes-Costa (Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia Animal, Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE))

Ralf Schwamborn (Department of Oceanography, Federal University of Pernambuco (UFPE))


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 3 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Abstract Understanding the patterns of displacement and site fidelity in blue land crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi Latreille, 1825) has important implications for their conservation and management. The central objective of this study was to analyze seasonal variations in site fidelity in C. guanhumi, a species that is intensively exploited in Brazil, in spite of being part of the Official National List of Critically Endangered Species. This species currently suffers multiple severe threats, such as overharvesting and habitat destruction. C. guanhumi were sampled monthly at four fixed sectors that were delimited at the upper fringe of a restricted-access mangrove at Itamaracá Island between April 2015 and March 2016. One thousand and seventy-eight individuals were captured, measured, sexed, weighed, and their color patterns registered. Of these, 291 individuals were tagged with PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder) tags. Ninety-seven individuals (size range 27.0–62.6 mm carapace width) were successfully recaptured, totaling 135 recapture events. The largest interval between marking and recapture was 331 days. Through the use of mark-recapture-based models, it was possible to estimate the local population as being 1312 (± 417) individuals (mean density 2.23 ± 0.71 ind. m−2). Considering the mean density of burrow openings and individuals, there were 3.4 burrow openings per individual. C. guanhumi showed a clear philopatric behavior. Seventy-seven percent of recaptured individuals were recaptured in their sector of origin, and the remainder in an adjacent sector. Site fidelity was higher in females. Males showed minimum site fidelity in October, which is most likely related to be the onset of the reproductive season. The present study opens new perspectives for the definition of reproductive seasons, based on seasonal changes in behavior, and thus to improve the conservation of exploited and severely threatened species.