The sandy beach macrofauna of Gulf of Gabès (Tunisia)

Authors


  • Conflict of interest The authors declare no conflict of interests.

Juan Junoy, Departamento de Zoología y Antropología Física, Universidad de Alcalá, E-28871 Alcalá de Henares, Spain. E-mail: juan.junoy@uah.es

Abstract

This study describes the macrofauna of the three beaches situated in central Gulf of Gabès (Tunisia): Ouderef, Gabès and Zarrat. The Gulf of Gabès has the largest tides in the Mediterranean and the beaches showed a wide intertidal zone. The beaches were sampled once during the spring low tides of June 2005. A transect was extended at each beach, from above the drift line to below the swash line at five sampled levels; at each level six 0.05 m2 replicates were taken to a depth of 30 cm and sieved through a 1-mm mesh, and the organisms collected and preserved. The three beaches showed a different physical environment. Sediment type was medium sand at the steeper Ouderef beach, fine sands at Gàbes beach, and very fine sands at the flatter Zarrat beach. The total number of species collected was 31: 12 crustaceans, 10 polychaetes, four molluscs and five insects. The supralittoral and mediolittoral zones were very different. The supralittoral zone was dominated by Talitrus saltator and insects. The most abundant mediolittoral species were the amphipod crustacean Bathyporeia guilliamsoniana at Ouderef beach (23069 ind.m−1), the surf clam Donax trunculus at Gabès beach (60711 ind.m−1) and the spionid polychaete Scolelepis mesnili at Zarrat beach (18345.6 ind.m−1).

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