Circular crab (Atelecyclus rotundatus)
|Researched by||Sonia Rowley||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandThis is a common species with records throughout the British Isles.
HabitatThis species can be found from the shallow sublittoral down to >300 m depth off shore. It can be on sand or gravel substrates.
- Reddish-brown, almost circular carapace up to 5 cm in diameter.
- Light brown limbs and black chelae.
- Carapace and limb margins are very hairy.
- Three teeth between the eyes, central one distinctly longer.
- Long second antenna.
Additional informationAtelecyclus rotundatus bears eggs from February to September with planktonic larvae present from February to November. This species is eaten by Gadus morhua and Raja spp. Atelecyclus rotundatus may also be mistaken for the less common Atelecyclus undecimdentatus. But Atelecyclus undecimdendatus has a much broader carapace and coarser granulations than Atelecyclus rotundatus. The thumbnail crab, Thia scutellata is also similar, but lacks teeth on the front of its carapace.
Interestingly, Atelecyclus rotundatus buries itself by digging backwards into the substrata, and reverses its respiratory water flow through its branchial chambers to prevent suffocation (Tayor, 1984). In order to maintain sufficient respiratory currents, this species (akin to Carcinus maenas, Cancer pagurus, Crangon crangon, Bathynectes longipes, Corystes cassivelaunus for example) holds its chelipeds close to its body creating a respiratory channel with the larger second antenna. Taylor (1984) noted that when burried, its gill bailer (scaphognathite) beats in the opposite direction to normal, pumping water out at the base of the limbs instead of drawing water in.
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Last Updated: 03/07/2007