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Low-temperature tolerance of early juveniles of six terrestrial hermit crab species: supplementary material

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journal contribution
posted on 02.01.2019, 10:50 by Tetsuya Sanda, Katsuyuki Hamasaki, Shigeki Dan, Shuichi Kitada

Because temperature strongly influences biological processes of ectotherms, it also plays a fundamental role in determining their geographical distribution. We evaluated the low-temperature 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, Japan. A total of 30 laboratory-raised juveniles (about 1 mm in shield length) carrying gastropod shells were individually stocked in small plastic cups with sandy bottoms in temperature-controlled incubatory chambers at ~27°C. The temperature was reduced by 1°C every 48 h, and the juveniles were observed until all the crabs had died; the median lethal temperature (MLT) was estimated as the temperature at which 50% of the test juveniles had died. The MLT estimates varied significantly among the species, and the most northward distributed species, C. purpureus, had the lowest MLT values. The phylogeny, paleoceanography, paleogeography, and paleoclimatology suggest that cooler thermal regimes might have acted as an evolutionary force for the divergence of C. purpureus in the Pliocene. A negative correlation was found between the northern latitudinal limit of distribution and the MLT values, even after controlling for the phylogenetic relationships in the six coenobitids. A temperature-dependent biogeography was thus recognized in terrestrial hermit crab species in the northwestern Pacific region, and global warming is expected to affect their geographical distributions.