Preferred Habitat of Alope Spinifrons

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  • Topic: Water, Intertidal zone, Tide
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  • Published : May 13, 2006
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AbstractThis investigation examined the preferred habitat of the prawn Alope spinifrons for the purpose of keeping the prawn in optimum conditions in captivity. The survey took place on shoreline between Matapouri Bay and Wooleys' Bay on the Tutukaka Coast. A. spinifrons populations were surveyed, water chemistry, temperature and depth were noted as well as substrate type and flora and fauna sharing the area. A. spinifrons preferred sheltered rocky areas where there was good water circulation and a water level at MLWS deep enough to prevent desiccation. Because of their social structure A. spinifrons preferred areas where other individuals had already settled.

IntroductionThe species Alope spinifrons is a Heavy built shrimp found on the coastline throughout New Zealand. It has a green translucent body with longitudinal red stripes and carapace reaches 16mm in length (Morton, Miller 1968). Usually found beneath rocks or in crevasses in the sub littoral zone. The species is a good specimen for the aquarium because of its social interactions bright colours and scavenging diet but appears to be sensitive to abiotic factors. The purpose of this survey is to identify the preferred habitat of A. spinifrons so that it can be kept in captivity successfully.

Methods The survey was conducted on the 15th and 16th of May, 2003. At Mean Low Water Spring (MLWS). Along the coast from Wooleys' Bay to The north end of Matapouri Bay, on the Tutukaka Coast. Four separate populations of Alope spinifrons were located by walking the length of coast, all rock pools and mobile rocks, boulders and cervices were inspected. The four populations were then surveyed. Once an area was identified to contain A. spinifrons it was photographed, Exposure and substrate was noted. The area was then systematically searched by lifting rocks and taking note of flora and fauna that shared the rock with A. spinifrons. The rocks were lifted from the survey facing area edge towards the outside edge. This was done to discourage escaping individuals from fleeing into the un-surveyed area. Rocks were lifted completely out of the water slowly to minimize disturbing the area. Ammonia presence, pH, temperature and specific gravity were taken from water.

ResultsThe Whale Bay, habitat was a tidal pool that was isolated from the ocean at MLWS, the substrate was shell gravel made up from the Rock Oyster's (Crassostrea glomerata ) that inhabit the surrounding rocks. The pool contained no macro algae. Alope spinifrons were distributed between Four Shell encrusted rocks (Fig 1.0) that were partially submerged in 100mm of water. The underside of the rocks was bare of shells and provided shelter for several animals including A. spinifrons; these were Actina tenbrosa, Ischnochiton maorianus and Diplocrepis puniceus. The substrate beneath the rock did not contain organic matter and was home to Opinonereis fasciatus and Petrolisthes elongates. The largest numbers of A. spinifrons were located on the two largest rocks; nine individuals were found in total.

The Cabbage Tree bay, location contained the largest population of A. spinifrons out of the four. 15 individuals were found. It was a Channel (Fig 1.1) that became completely submerged at High Tide, the channel opened out facing the ocean and into the sheltered side of a small cove. The area that contained A. spinifrons had a large number of rocks half submerged in 150mm of water, the population mainly cantered around the largest rocks in the middle of the channel with juveniles spread out around the smaller rocks. The area was bare of any macro algae. Animals occupying the same rocks as A. spinifrons were Palaemon affinis and Diplocrepis puniceus. The substrate around the population was smooth pebbles and solid rock, directly beneath the rock finer grade of pebbles was found, this contained many Opinonereis fasciatus.

The Matapouri Bay Population was the smallest of the four with only five...
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