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Academic year: 2021







Tarcísio Barbosa Lima Júnior 2 Mona I. da Costa Aragão1, 2 Janize Pereira da Silva1 Gustavo A. S. Melo3 José Roberto S. A. Leite1, 2


The occurrence of two species of Indo-Pacific origin, Pyromaia tuberculata (Lockington, 1877) and

Charybdis hellerii (A. Milne-Edwards, 1867) is reported from collections in areas of soft sediments in

the midlittoral zone in the coastal region of Luis Correia in the state of Piauí, which includes the Parnaíba Delta Federal Environmental Protection Area. Both these species are presently well established in several states of northeastern and southeastern Brazil.

Key-words: Brachyura, Exotic species, Parnaíba Delta, Piauí.


Ocorrência de duas espécies de Brachyura do Indo-Pacífico na Costa do Estado do Piauí, Brasil

É relatada a ocorrência de duas espécies de origem Indo-Pacífica, Pyromaia tuberculata (Lockington, 1877) e Charybdis hellerii (A. Milne-Edwards, 1867), coletados em enclaves inconsolidados na zona de mesolitoral da região costeira de Luis Correia, no Estado do Piauí, região que integra a Área de Proteção Ambiental Federal Delta do Parnaíba. Atualmente estas espécies se encontram bem estabelecidas em alguns Estados do Nordeste e Sudeste do Brasil.

Palavras-chave: Brachyura, Espécies Exóticas, Delta do Parnaíba, Piauí.


1 Projeto Biodiversidade do Delta Conservação e Pesquisa - PROBID, Campus Ministro Reis Velloso, Universidade Federal

do Piauí - UFPI, Parnaíba, PI, 64202-020, Brazil; tjpesca@gmail.com

2 Instituto Ilha do Caju Ecodesenvolvimento e Pesquisa - ICEP, s/n, zona rural, Araioses, MA, 65570-000.

3 Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo (MUZSP). Avenida Nazareth 481, Ipiranga, 04263-000, São Paulo, SP,



Exotic, non-native or introduced species are those that occur on a scale outside their historically reported natural limit, as a result of accidental or natural dispersal by human activities. They can also occur by natural means, although generally on a smaller spatial scale. In favorable conditions with no predators, parasites or natural competitors, these species can reach high population densities (Carlton, 1987, 1989, 1996; Ruiz et al., 2000), and can cause loss of biodiversity with the elimination of native species, modify the trophic structure, productivity and energy flow in ecosystems, and generate economic impacts and health problems for humans (Porter, 1999; Darrigran, 2002; Mansur et

al., 2003; Silva et al., 2004).

One of the most important mechanisms of introduction of marine species into new areas by humans is by shipping (Hutchings et al., 2002; Silva

et al., 2004). Ballast water is the principal dispersal

vector, and can transport, in addition to bacteria and small invertebrates, eggs, cysts and larvae of larger organisms. Because the great majority of marine species have a life cycle with one or more planktonic stages, even adults of species that live on hard substrates or that are not pumped into ships because of their larger size can be transferred to ballast-water tanks in their larval forms and released in other ports, when the ship is reloaded with freight (Carlton & Geller, 1993). In consequence, thousands of marine and estuarine species have been dispersed far from their regions of origin (Vermeij, 1991; Ruiz et al., 1997; Hutchings et al., 2002).


Transfer and introduction of these organisms into new environments threaten the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and is taken to be one of the four greatest threats to marine environments (MMA, 2006). Often, even if an introduced species has some ecological impact on the environment or causes drastic changes in the composition of the native communities, its advent may occur without immediate detection, and once the species is established, eradication is generally difficult (Lodge, 1993; Carlton, 1996; Bax et al., 2001). As a means of reducing the existing lacuna in knowledge of the fauna of Brachyura in the state of Piauí, the subproject "Carcinological characterization of the coast of the State of Piauí" ("Caracterização carcinológica da costa do Estado do Piauí)" was initiated in 2007 as part of the Delta Biodiversity Project - Conservation and Research (Projeto Biodiversidade do Delta - Conservação e Pesquisa/PROBID). The principal objective of this study was to record the exotic species of Brachyura that occur on the coast of the Municipality of Luis Correia in the state of Piauí, as an addition to the inventory of marine biodiversity.


In august and september 2007, two species of Brachyura of Indo-Pacific origin, Pyromaia

tuberculata (Lockington, 1877) and Charybdis hellerii (A. Milne-Edwards, 1867), were collected

manually, in the midlittoral zone at low tide at the full, on the beaches of Coqueiro (02°53'919"S : 41º33'515"W) and Macapá (02º54'815"S : 41°26'927"W), respectively. These beaches are located on the coast of Luis Correia, Piauí, a region that includes the Parnaíba Delta Environmental Protection Area (Área de Proteção Ambiental Delta do Parnaíba - APA) (Figure 1). Crabs were collected according to the Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Re-cursos Renováveis, IBAMA, under the license number 12529-1 SISBIO. The samples were qualitative, with no standardized collecting effort. The specimens were placed in test tubes and stored frozen at -8°C to maintain their coloration. Later they were fixed in 4% formol, conserved in 70% alcohol and added to the carcinological collection of the Paranaíba Delta Ecology Laboratory (Laboratório de Ecologia Delta do Parnaíba - LEDP/UFPI/Parnaíba), under numbers CCDP 0022 and CCDP 0034.

Figure 1. Localities of occurrence of the two exotic species on the coast of the Municipality of Luis Correia, Piauí, Brazil.


Material examined: One ovigerous female: SL 6.5 mm and SW 4.9 mm, CCDP 0022. Diagnosis: Carapace pyriform, flanks granulated and tuberculate. One large tubercle, in some cases spiniform, in the mesogastric, cardiac and intestinal regions. First abdominal somite with short spiniform tubercle. Rostrum simple (broken in the specimen collected). One tubercle on supra-orbital surface of carapace. Thoracic sternum granulate. Chelipeds stout, with palm inflated, sparsely granulate. Female smaller than male, more granulate, with smaller median tubercles, rostrum shorter, abdomen

irregularly granulate, chelipeds more slender, palm of cheliped only slightly inflated, fingers without hiatus (after Melo, 1996).

Distribution: Species native to the Eastern Pacific, from California, U.S.A., to Panama. Introduced into Japan (Sakai, 1976), the western Indo-Pacific (Grifffin & Tranter, 1986), Western Australia (Morgan, 1990), and southeast Brazil, where it is presently well established in the states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul (Melo et al., 1989; Melo, 1996; Tavares & Men-donça, 1996, 2004).

RESULTS Family Majidae

Pyromaia tuberculata (Lockington, 1877)

Figure 2. (A and B): Female of Pyromaia tuberculata (Lockington, 1877) (rostrum broken), CCDP 0022: A -Dorsal view and B -Ventral view (Photo: Lima Júnior, T. B.).

Family Portunidae

Charybdis hellerii (A. Milne-Edwards, 1867)

Material examined: SL, 41.6 mm; SW, 59 mm, CCDP 0034.

Figure 3. (A and B): Female of Charybdis hellerii (A. Milne-Edwards, 1867), CCDP 0034: A - Dorsal view and B -Ventral view (Photo: Lima Júnior, T. B.).


Material examined: SL, 41.6 mm; SW, 59 mm, CCDP 0034.

Diagnosis: Carapace with non-pilose dorsal surface; antero-lateral margin with six acute teeth (including the outer orbital). Frontal region with six teeth: two inner orbital and four submedian. Chelae strong; palm with five strong spines on dorsal surface. Carpus and merus of natatory leg each armed with one strong spine on distal part of posterior margin; propodus with a row of spinules on posteri-or margin. Abdomen of male with sixth somite of similar length and width, telson subtriangular. First pleopod of male reaching approximately to suture between fifth and sixth sternites (Coelho & Santos, 2003; Lemaitre, 1995; Carqueja & Gouvêa, 1996).

Distribution: Indo-Pacific: Japan, Philippines, New Caledonia, Australia, Hawaii and the Indian Ocean, including the Red Sea (Lemaitre, 1995); Mediterranean Sea (Lemaitre, 1995); Western Atlantic: Florida, Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela. In Brazil the species was previously recorded in the states of Rio Grande do Norte (Ferreira et al., 2001), Pernambuco (Coelho & Santos, 2003), Alagoas (Ca-lado, 1996), Bahia (Carqueija & Gouvêa, 1996), Rio de Janeiro (Tavares & Mendonça, 1996), São Paulo (Negreiros-Fransozo, 1996), Santa Catarina (Mantelatto & Dias, 1999) and Ceará (Bezerra & Almeida, 2005).


Of the eight species of marine decapods listed as exotic by Tavares & Mendonça (1996), only two species of Brachyura, Charybdis hellerii (A. Milne-Edwards, 1867) and Pyromaia tuberculata (Lockington, 1877), with very numerous populations on the Brazilian coast, found relative success in their introduction (Melo & Crivelaro, 2002). Recently, the first occurrence in the Western Atlantic of Polybius

navigator (Herbst, 1794), a portunid of the Eastern

Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea, was reported, specifically in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. However, all indications are that this species did not have similar success in adapting to the Brazilian coast, because it has been collected only once in the past 35 years (Melo & Crivelaro, 2002).

In respect to Pyromaia tuberculata, there is the possibility that reproducing populations are establishing near Coqueiro Beach on the coast of Luis Correia, because the material examined was an ovigerous female. The species was collected within areas of soft sediments in a region of rock outcrops. The natural habitat of this species is algae-covered

rocky bottoms, and also under stones. It occurs from the intertidal to 130 m, principally on soft muddy bottoms (Melo, 1996). Populations of P. tuberculata have established in Japan, in bays affected by organic pollution and cycles of hypoxia, and it is considered an opportunistic species. Studies in the same country revealed that females reach maturity within six months after settling, and also reach maturity at a smaller size in high temperatures, completing at least two reproductive cycles per year (Furota, 1996 a, b). At the moment, it is not possible to determine whether the introduction of this species will negatively impact the study locale.

The portunid Charybdis hellerii, a "siri" with no commercial value, is one of several known serious cases, which is harming the fishery of the corresponding native species in Bahia. There is a risk that it will become a competitor of the commercially important species and cause alterations in the structure and taxonomic composition of their populations (Tavares & Mendonça, 2004).

Charybdis hellerii was collected in the

estuarine system of Macapá Beach, where four additional species of Portunidae were also recorded:

Callinectes danae Smith, 1869; Callinectes bocourti

(A. Milne-Edwards, 1879); Callinectes exasperatus (Gerstaecker, 1856) and Callinectes larvatus Ordway, 1863. This highlights the importance of regular surveys in the region, in order to analyze the impact of this species on the environment and its relationship with the native species.

The authors emphasized the necessity of studying these introduced species, with emphasis on gathering data on their abundance, reproductive potential and relationship to the native species (Co-elho & Santos, 2003). More extensive studies of the systematics and biogeography are necessary in order to determine more precisely the presence of non-native organisms, as well as studies that envisage developing means for the control of their populations in Brazil. There are few control methods for these species in Brazilian waters (Neves, 2006). The paucity of studies on faunal surveys, biogeographical tan-ges, and adequate monitoring impede the detection of non-native species in a given locale.

The chances of eradication of these species in the study areas may be small, although their populations can be studied and thus monitored. The information provided here can contribute to future assessments of the biodiversity of this region, besides supporting the development of plans for the management and conservation of the areas studied, and contributing necessary information to


improve knowledge of the exotic species that occur in the Parnaíba Delta Environmental Protection Area.


The authors thank the Projeto Biodiversidade do Delta - Conservação e Pesquisa (PROBID), Insti-tuto Ilha do Caju Ecodesenvolvimento e Pesquisa (ICEP), Projeto Cetáceos Maranhão (PROCEMA), Universidade Federal do Piauí, and Petrobrás Ambiental Programe for logistical and financial support. We also thank Wennys Dean Sousa da Sil-va (Universidade Federal do Piauí) for developing the maps of the occurrences of the species treated herein.


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Recebido em 5 de maio de 2008. Aprovado em 16 de junho de 2008.


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