*Correspondence author: Mojtaba Naderi, Department of Agriculture, Payame Noor University (PNU), P.O. Box 19395-3697, Tehran, Iran
How to cite this article:Mojtaba N, Fatemeh P, Mariano L.The Ecology of Ocypode Rotundata (Miers, 1882) in Qeshm Island Persian Gulf. Oceanogr Fish Open Access J. 2020; 11(4): 555816. DOI: 10.19080/OFOAJ.2020.11.555816
Ghost crabs inhabit in self-constructed burrows on sandy beaches from backshore to foreshore. Ocypode rotundata is one of three species
of the genus occurring in the Persian Gulf and Oman Gulf. The males of O. rotundata creates sand pyramid exactly in front of the burrow towards
the seaward during the breeding season for attraction of female crabs. They play important roles in the ecology of sandy beaches of Qeshm Island.
Keywords: Ocypode rotundat Burrow Persian Gulf Ecology
Ghost crabs are among the most common burrowing
organisms and fastest crustaceans on sandy beach from tropics
to temperate latitudes [1,2]. These crabs use self-constructed
burrows for variation aims of needs including shelter, mating, egg
development phase molting sex-specific signaling and feeding
[3-10]. Moreover, ghost crabs have important effect on sediment
characteristics and are the great bioturbators of sandy beaches
which has important concepts for the biogeochemistry of the
soil and soil biodiversity . The genus Ocypode comprises 25
species which are globally distributed on tropical and subtropical
[1,12-14]. Up to date, 6 species of Ocypode have previously been
reported from Persian and Oman Gulfs which are, O. rotundata
(Miers, 1882), O. sinensis (Dai, Song & Yang, 1985), O. jousseaumei
(Nobili, 1905), O. platytarsis (Milne Edwards, 1852), O. cordimanus
(Latreille, 1818), O. saratan (Forskal, 1775). The first three species
occur on Iranian sandy beaches whist all of five species have
distributed along Oman coasts [15-18]. Moreover, distribution
of O. rotundata occurs on 19 stations around Qeshm Island .
Conversely, O. sinensis has very low abundance and distribution
on Qeshm Island .
Copulation usually occurs on the beach surface . However,
O. rotundata builds burrows specifically for mating which include
2 shafts: one extended straight down and another turning rightor left contrariwise to the first branch (Figure 1) . Male crabs
use two ways for attraction of female crabs during the mating
period. One of them is constructed sand mounds and another is
slam of sand with both chelae (especially major chelae) .
Warm conditions can induce optimal gonad growth, whereas
a low temperature may delay egg development and larval release
[6,7,22]. According to Persian Gulf temperature conditions, O.
rotundata is actively breeding from March to October .
The eggs of O. rotundata are spherical in shape which includes
six developmental stages with different color patterns: yellow,
pale orange, orange, dark orange, brownish, brown color . The
variation in color during egg development is due to differences
in absorption of the yolk reserves. Like other ghost crabs [22,24-
26], Ovigerous females of O. rotundata usually are scarce on the
beach surface . An admissible explanation for the low number
of ovigerous female crabs could be the fact that they hide inside
their deep burrows, incubating their eggs, until the appropriate
time of hatching.
Increasing size of ghost crabs is accompanied by morphological
changes (e.g. shape, diameter, length, and orientation) of burrows
. Juvenile crabs of O. rotundata construct burrow on upper
foreshore due to inability of their gills to tolerate long time of air
exposure. Naderi and Pishehvarzad  stated that O. rotundata
individuals excavate single tube, J-shaped and Y-shaped burrows
at the different growth stages, on the other hand, spiral and
complex burrows only occurred in adult crabs.
Feeding behavior of O. rotundata divides into three
classifications: 1) deposit-feeding, 2) consuming of macroscopic
plant detritus, 3) scavenging on animal carcasses (Naderi,
unpublished data) (Figure 2).
Ghost crabs are one of valuable species in Nigeria and west
Africa that women catch them . Also, they use as a tool for rapid
assessment of human impacts on exposed sandy beaches . On
the other hands, tissues of O. rotundata include saturated fatty
acids, palmitic acid, monounsaturated fatty acid, polyunsaturated
fatty acids, two methyl esters of fatty acids, cholesterol which
can reduce inflammation and may help to reduce risk of chronic
diseases such as heart disease cancer, and arthritis [29-32]. O.
rotundata does not use as food in Iran but it is a good choice to use
as prey for fishing with hook and line (Figure 3).
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