Population biology of Ischyrocerus commensalis, a crab-associated amphipod, in the Southern Barents Sea: a multi-annual summer study


Vladimir G. Dvoretsky, Murmansk Marine Biological Institute, 17 Vladimirskaya str., Murmansk 183010, Russia.
E-mail: vdvoretskiy@mmbi.info


Population biology of the amphipod Ischyrocerus commensalis Chevreux, 1900, a facultative commensal of the red king crab Paralithodes camtschaticus (Tilesius, 1815), is here described on samples collected during summers 2005–2009 in Dalnezelenetskaya Bay (Southern Barents Sea, Russia). The studied features included infestation indices, size composition, morphometric, and reproductive parameters of the summer generation. During the studied period, prevalence and mean number of I. commensalis per host were 34.4% and 54.4 ± 3.3 individuals, respectively. The majority of amphipods were found on the host mouth parts, limbs, and gills. The amphipod sex-ratio was significantly biased towards females (F:M = 1.36:1). The size frequency distributions observed in July and August were similar but in July the proportion of the smallest amphipods (<2.1 mm body length) was two times higher than that in August. All the amphipods with body length >5.1 mm were males or females. Length–weight relationships in female and male amphipods differed significantly, suggesting that females were heavier than the same-sized males. The females carrying eggs in their brood pouches were the most abundant groups (54.8% in July 2009 and 51.6% in August 2005–2008). The minimal body length of a female which had released juveniles was 7.0 mm in July and 6.2 mm in August. The size at 50% maturity of I. commensalis females was estimated to be 6.58 mm. The number of eggs laid is positively linearly correlated with the size of a female. The proportion of the females with eggs in the latest developmental stage in July was 10 times higher than in August. The differences of biological features in symbiotic amphipods between the July and August may be explained by more intensive reproduction effort in the earlier month.