What is it about?

Juveniles of Chinese mitten crab,Eriocheir sinensis, are considered to live in freshwater during their complex life history, while some are found in coastal wetlands. To understand how juveniles disperse in estuarine residence, we investigated their survival, feed intake and salinity preference after they acclimating in three different water situations (freshwater, saltwater and alternation between freshwater and saltwater). We supposed that both behavioural alternation and salinity preference would play an essential role in acclimation. The results showed no significant difference in survival and feed intake among the three groups (P>0.05) in acclimation trials. However, the feed intake of crabs was in decline in each group after changing water every three days. In the salinity preference experiment, crabs from freshwater preferred 0‰ and 12‰, while those from salinity and alternation treatments showed no preference. The salinity preference seemed to be modified by prior acclimation as well and juvenile crabs could therefore survive and disperse in the different salinities.

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Why is it important?

Our study investigated the salinity preference of juveniles of Chinese mitten crab in their natural habitat, explaining how they would acclimate to environmental change by modifying their metabolic process and salinity preference. These findings helped to understand the distribution of juveniles in estuaries that may fluctuate rapidly on a tidal basis and lay down the foundation for future studies on the mechanism of salinity preference change.


The physiological changes will eventually be manifested in behavioural change and adaptation. We hope this article could make people pay some attention to the behaviour at the macroscopic level. We also hope that this article will motivate deep thinking to adaptive behavior.

Fan Yu

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Effects of prior acclimation on the survival, feed intake and salinity preference of a freshwater-adapted euryhaline crab, Crustaceana, January 2023, Brill, DOI: 10.1163/15685403-bja10265.
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