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Megan Green - Invasions Ecology

Salisbury University, Salisbury, MD

A mark recapture study of Rithropanopeus harrisii

My experiment was a mark and recapture study of Rithropanopeus harrisii, or the white fingered mud crab, to determine patterns of movement.  Focus was put on male/female movement differences as well as on attraction or repulsion effects of the crabs on each other.  Overall this study found a very high recapture rate.  Significant differences were found between male and female movement.  Females and ovigerous crabs were found to be more likely to stay in structure once they were in it, and males were more likely to leave.  There was also a significant difference between the colonization rates of traps that were deployed pre-stocked and those that were deployed empty.  Further study would be required to determine the cause of this difference.  One hypothesis is that a chemical cue is present that is responsible for attraction between the crabs, possibly a cue that is related to male/female attraction for mating purposes.