Upper thermal tolerance of early juveniles of six terrestrial hermit crab species:supplementary material

Because temperature strongly influences biological processes of ectotherms, they must adapt to the thermal conditions of their habitats. We evaluated the upper thermal tolerance of early juveniles of six terrestrial hermit crab species in the family Coenobitidae (genera Birgus and Coenobita), B. latro, C. brevimanus, C. cavipes, C. purpureus, C. rugosus, and C. violascens, that occur in the northwestern Pacific region of Japan. A total of 30 laboratory-raised juveniles (approximately 1 mm in shield length) carrying gastropod shells were individually stocked in small plastic cups with sandy bottoms in temperature-controlled incubation chambers at ~27°C. The temperature was increased by 1°C every 48 h, and the juveniles were observed until all the crabs had died. The median upper lethal temperature was estimated as the temperature at which 50% of the test juveniles had died. The median upper lethal temperature estimates significantly varied among the species. Coenobita violascens, which mainly occurs in mangrove estuaries with lower thermal conditions, had the lowest median upper lethal temperature values. The median upper lethal temperature values estimated for B. latro were slightly lower than those for the other Coenobita species, probably reflecting its cryptic nature in natural habitats during the juvenile stage. The most northerly distributed species, C. purpureus, had the highest median upper lethal temperature values, suggesting the existence of common physiological mechanisms that regulate both upper and lower thermal tolerance abilities.