Northernmost record of the pantropical portunid crab Cronius ruber in the eastern Atlantic (Canary Islands): natural range extension or human-mediated introduction?
José A. González, Raül Triay-Portella, Aitor Escribano, José A. Cuesta

The pantropical crab Cronius ruber (Lamarck, 1818) (Brachyura: Portunidae) is recorded for the first time from the Canary Islands. Previously known from off Cape Verde Islands and Senegal, this is the northernmost record of the species in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Crabs have been caught by means of a collecting small trap for sampling in shallow waters, and then identified by both morphological characters and DNA barcoding (16S). Cytochrome c oxidase I partial sequence has been obtained for this species for the first time. This relatively large and very aggressive crab species seems to be rapidly occupying both hard substrates (sublittoral caves) and soft substrates (sand with seagrass meadow) adjacent to shallow rocky bottoms, at depths between 2 and 10 m, in the warm southern waters of Gran Canaria Island. The reasons for this species’ occurrence are discussed herein. Among them, natural range extension may be a consequence of tropicalization in the eastern Atlantic. Also, a human-mediated introduction could be based on the heavy traffic of ships (ballast waters or oil platforms) arriving at the Canary Islands from African countries and from Brazil in the last decade.

Keywords: zoogeography; natural expansion; anthropogenic introduction; Brachyura; crab; Cronius ruber; Canary Islands; eastern Atlantic; DNA barcoding.
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 81(1) : 81-89 Back PDF
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