Biogeographic comparisons of the traits and abundance of an invasive crab throughout its native and invasive ranges

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Journal Article
Biological Invasions, 2013, 15 (8), pp. 1877 - 1885
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High abundances of non-native species in the invaded range may be linked to changes in fitness related traits. However, few studies have compared differences in both life-history traits and abundances of introduced species between their native and invaded ranges. We determined differences in 12 morphological traits, an important fitness related trait (body size), and the abundance of the porcelain crab, Petrolisthes elongatus, in its native (New Zealand) and invasive (Tasmania, Australia) ranges. P. elongatus was more abundant in the introduced range; however, changes in abundance depended on tidal height, with higher abundances only at mid and low tidal zones. The biomass of male crabs was higher in the invaded range compared to the native range, but there was no difference in female biomass between ranges. Despite increases in male biomass, sex ratios between native and invasive populations did not differ. In addition, principal components analysis showed no differences in overall morphology between Tasmania and New Zealand. Our study indicates that increased abundance in the invaded range of P. elongatus may be linked to high values of an important trait (greater biomass) in the invaded range. Importantly, changes in biomass and abundance may be due to P. elongatus being able to utilise mid/low zones more in the invaded range. Furthermore, our findings indicate that understanding how sex specific changes in biomass interact with the recipient environment (biotic and abiotic) in the introduced range will be important for determining the mechanisms underpinning the establishment and spread of P. elongatus. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
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