Mangrove Leaves are Not an Important Source of Dietary Carbon and Nitrogen for Crabs in Temperate Australian Mangroves
Neosarmatium meinerti is a crab which commonly inhabitsthelandward Avicennia marina fringe in East Africanmangroves.Stomach content analysis of individuals collected at Gazi BayandMida Creek (Kenya) showed that their diet mainly consisted ofmangrove leaves, completed with little animal matter.Experimentsdesigned to offer the crabs a choice of leaves or propagulesof thevarious mangrove species present indicated that N. meinertihas no distinct preference for any of them. Nor is itattracted byspongy material impregnated with the extract of propagulesfrom anyparticular mangrove species. However, at least for Rhizophoramucronata, this crab species has a slight preference forfreshlygathered propagules when presented both matured and freshlygathered ones. There is little evidence that the plant-deriveddietof N. meinerti consists of one mangrove species only,thoughit is probable that this crab will restrict its feeding areawithinthe landward A. marina fringe. Because of the lack ofspecificity in its feeding behaviour, N. meinerti canalso bea threat to the successful regeneration or restoration ofmangrovesthrough seedling or propagule planting.