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Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2017, Vol 17, Num, 5     (Pages: 1031-1038)

Outlanders in an Unusual Habitat: Holothuria mammata (Grube, 1840) Behaviour On Seagrass Meadows from Ria Formosa (S Portugal)

Andjin Siegenthaler 1-2 ,Fernando Cánovas 1 ,Mercedes González-Wangüemert 1

1 Universidade do Algarve, Centro de Ciencias do Mar (CCMAR), Building 7, Campus de Gambelas, P-8005-139 Faro, Portugal
2 Salford University, Salford, United Kingdom
DOI : 10.4194/1303-2712-v17_5_19 Viewed : 3385 - Downloaded : 3322 Holothuria mammata is one of the new target species from the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Usually, it inhabits rocky bottoms, staying in crevices and holes during the day and leaving them in the night for feeding on sandy bottoms. However, it can be found in unusual habitats such as seagrass with diurnal and nocturnal feeding. This study provides information for the first time on the behaviour, density and small scale distribution of H. mammata in a seagrass habitat from Ria Formosa (S Portugal). To reach these aims, a mark/recapture methodology was used. Abundance was estimated through R statistical software v.2.15.3 (package “Rcapture”). The minimum area method was applied in GRASS GIS v.6.4.2 for home range. Size distribution was estimated applying a Shapiro-Wilk test. Rayleigh test for randomness was applied to study the directionality of movements. A circular one-way ANOVA was used to test for differences in movement direction. Capture probability was higher on seagrass than sand and the total length of the individuals ranged from 13 to 25 cm. Movement speed was between 4.7 and 14.7 m day-1. Movements were not directional. H. mammata differs in its behaviour from the related Holothuria arguinensis occurring in the same habitat. Keywords : Sea cucumbers, behaviour, unusual habitat, movement, population dynamics