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Introduction of invasive crab Pyromaia tuberculata (Lockington, 1877): genetic variability and structure in the Atlantic coast of South America

Grant number: 14/13439-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2014
Effective date (End): June 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Taxonomy of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Fernando Luis Medina Mantelatto
Grantee:Carla Kühl de Figueiredo
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:10/50188-8 - Decapod crustaceans: multi-disciplinary characterization of the sea biodiversity of the State of São Paulo (taxonomy, spermiotaxonomy, molecular biology and population dynamics), AP.BTA.TEM


Pyromaia tuberculata is a native crab from northeastern Pacific Ocean, naturally occurring from the San Francisco Bay, California to southern Chile. These animals, which are usually found hidden under stones or amongst fouling organisms, are also reported in the western Pacific Ocean, in areas from Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand. In the western Atlantic this species is recorded from Argentina and Brazil, including São Paulo coast. P. tuberculata is considered an invasive species in these areas and it is believed that dispersal to areas beyond their natural range has occurred by transport in ship ballast or hidden among fouling organisms. Information about the processes of introduction of the species on the Atlantic coast of South America is still unknown. Thus, through analysis of variability and genetic structure of the species, as well as the morphological variability of P. tuberculata in the Atlantic, this project aims to assess the history related to the invasion of this species in this territory. This could provide important data regarding areas of the origin of the species of the South Atlantic, and also that such introduction is due to a single or multiple events of invasion. For this purpose molecular analyzes of two mitochondrial genes (16S rDNA and COI, same sequence of barcoding) will be held in addition to studies of comparative morphology, based on analyzes of biological materials and also on information from literature.

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