Macrocrustaceans associated with reefs of Phragmatopoma caudata Krøyer in Mörch, 1863 (Polychaeta: Sabellariidae) and rocky shore in the Northeastern Brazil


  • Laiane Lane-Medeiros Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Centro de Biociências (CB), Departamento de Botânica e Zoologia (DBEZ), Laboratório de Biologia, Ecologia e Evolução de Crustáceos (LABEEC)
  • Carolina Teixeira Puppin-Gonçalves Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Centro de Biociências (CB), Departamento de Botânica e Zoologia (DBEZ), Laboratório de Biologia, Ecologia e Evolução de Crustáceos (LABEEC)
  • Matheus Arthur Lúcio da Rocha Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Centro de Biociências (CB), Departamento de Botânica e Zoologia (DBEZ), Laboratório de Biologia, Ecologia e Evolução de Crustáceos (LABEEC)
  • Carlos Eduardo Rocha Duarte Alencar Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Centro de Biociências (CB), Departamento de Botânica e Zoologia (DBEZ), Laboratório de Biologia, Ecologia e Evolução de Crustáceos (LABEEC); Universidade Regional do Cariri (URCA), Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS), Departamento de Ciências Biológicas (DCB), Laboratório de Crustáceos do Semiárido (LACRUSE)
  • Fúlvio Aurélio de Morais Freire Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Centro de Biociências (CB), Departamento de Botânica e Zoologia (DBEZ), Laboratório de Biologia, Ecologia e Evolução de Crustáceos (LABEEC)



Structural complexity, Shelter, Refugium, Porcellanidae, Decapoda, Ecosystem engineering


Ecosystem engineering species create, modify, and/or maintain the characteristics of the environment. The polychaete Phragmatopoma caudata builds large sand reefs in the intertidal region of the Brazilian coast with high structural complexity, favoring the increase of diversity and interactions among the species associated. However, there are no studies concerning the association of polychaetes with crustacean macrofauna in the northeastern Brazil ecoregion, leaving an information gap on baseline biodiversity. Our aim was to analyze the effect of P. caudata colonies (PC) on the local diversity of macrocrustaceans compared to the rocky shore (RS) microhabitat. Monthly collections were carried out in low tide from September 2015 to August 2016 on 10 × 10 m quadrants for fauna and environmental variables (temperature and salinity) samples. In each microhabitat, the capture effort was two hours by two researchers. We collected 3,390 individuals, 60% associated with the colonies of PC and 40% with the RS. The PC obtained higher Shannon diversity, Pielou evenness and species richness coupled with milder water temperature and salinity conditions (minor air exposure during tide), compared to the RS that obtained greater species dominance and more extreme abiotic conditions (major air exposure). The Porcellanidae family stood out because all its species were highly abundant and had high occurrence in the colonies. The tropical Brazil porcelain crab Pachycheles greeleyi was dominant in both microhabitats (major dominance in PC). The structural complexity in the reefs of PC promoted higher availability of niches for the species, as more shelter for the resident species and refugium for temporary species with preference for more complex microhabitats. Conservation managers should prioritize the health of these colonies and subsequent species that constitute important ecosystemic and fishery resources.


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How to Cite

Lane-Medeiros, L., Puppin-Gonçalves, C. T., Rocha, M. A. L. da, Alencar, C. E. R. D., & Freire, F. A. de M. (2021). Macrocrustaceans associated with reefs of Phragmatopoma caudata Krøyer in Mörch, 1863 (Polychaeta: Sabellariidae) and rocky shore in the Northeastern Brazil. Papéis Avulsos De Zoologia, 61, e20216119.



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