Arthropods, 2012, 1(1): 13-23
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Diversity and habitat preference of brachyuran crabs in Gulf of Kutch, Gujarat, India

J. N. Trivedi, M. K. Gadhavi, K. D. Vachhrajani
Division of Environment and Toxicology, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara, Gujarat, India

Received 9 January 2012;Accepted 2 February 2012;Published online 10 March 2012

The biodiversity of Gulf of Kutch is studied well with special reference to scleretinia and mollusca but the brachyuran crab taxa are rather neglected. Gulf of Kutch is very rich in floral and faunal diversity and comprises different types of communities and habitats like very unique coral reefs, mangroves, sandy shores, rocky shores and mudflats. Brachyuran crabs are the most diverse group among marine fauna having 5000 species world wide. Some studies on the intertidal fauna, including brachyuran crabs, have been carried out in Gulf of Kutch but the findings were not sufficient to draw out taxonomic diversity. Present work on Gulf of Kutch is an initiative to scan the entire coastal Gujarat and establish directory of brachyuran crab diversity. Since the Gulf habitat is diverse and distinct, eight different stations (16 sample sites) were sampled. The selection of the sample site was done on the basis of habitat type which included mangrove mudflats, open mudflats and rocky shores. A total of 19 species belonging to 8 families and 15 genera were recorded. Open mud flats were most preferred by the crabs followed by the mangrove mud flats and rocky shore.

Keywords brachyuran crabs;Gulf of Kutch;mangrove;mudflat;habitat preference.

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