Rev. biol. mar. oceanogr. 48(3): 487-496


Morphometric variability in sandy beach crustaceans of Isla Grande de Chiloé, Southern Chile

Heraldo Contreras1, Cristian Duarte2, Eduardo Jaramillo3 and Norka Fuentes4

1Centro Tecnológico para la Acuicultura Putemún, Instituto de Fomento Pesquero, Castro, Chile
2Departamento de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Facultad de Ecología y Recursos Naturales, Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile
3Instituto de Ecología y Evolución, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile
4Departamento de Acuicultura y Recursos Agroalimentarios, Universidad de los Lagos, Osorno, Chile

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The macroinfauna of exposed sandy beaches along the Chilean coast is dominated by crustaceans, which show an across-shore zonation; the talitrid amphipod Orchestoidea tuberculata as the dominant taxon in the upper levels, the cirolanid isopod Excirolana hirsuticauda is dominant in the mid-intertidal, and the anomuran crab Emerita analoga is common in the low levels. This study analyses samples collected during the spring of 2001 and 7 morphological characters were measured on 30 adults of each species: body length, body height, body width, antennae and uropodal exopod lengths. The study sites were located near 42°S, an area where various beach types (i.e., reflective, intermediate and dissipative) occur along the northern coasts of the Chilean archipelagos. The morphometric variability of O. tuberculata, E. hirsuticauda and E. analoga was analyzed using cluster and principal component analysis. The results of this study showed that independently of beach type, individuals of O. tuberculata inhabiting proximal beaches showed greater similarity than individuals inhabiting beaches located distant from each other. Individuals of E. analoga inhabiting similar beach types showed greater similarity than individuals living in different beach types. These results are discussed in relation to across-shore zonation and the natural history of these species.

Key words:  Morphometric variability, macroinfauna, sandy beach