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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 57 (1973)

Issue: 4. (April)

First Page: 794

Last Page: 794

Title: Geometry and Morphology of Crustacean Burrows in Torrey Pines and Bodega Estuaries, California: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Eric J. McHuron, Kenneth J. McMillen, John E. Warme

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Resin casts were used to document the geometry and morphology of crustacean burrows from two California estuaries. Burrows studies include those of two ghost shrimps (Callianassa californiensis and C. longimana), a fiddler crab (Uca crenulata), and two grapsoid crabs (Pachygrapsus crassipes and Hemigrapsus oregonensis). Further documentation is under way with the use of direct observations and radiographs of ghost shrimp burrowing through layered sediment in aquaria.

The Callianassa burrows are in muddy to clean sand found in the lower parts of tidal creeks and on sand flats. Their burrows have a main shaft up to 1 m long with constant diameter (up to 2 cm) except for narrowing produced by excurrent activity either at the surface or between burrow systems, and except for enlarged turn-around nodes commonly present at branches or direction changes. Up to 5 openings were observed per system; they are connected by twos and threes in horizontal to inclined Y's with the junction of the Y up to 15 cm below the surface. The geometry of the main shaft is dependent on species, intertidal position, sediment size, and layering. The burrows have a smooth internal and external morphology.

The grapsoid burrows are on and above the banks of tidal creeks in slightly silty clay to slightly muddy sand. They vary from complex shapes, with several layers and entrances in a box-type framework, to a simple U-shape depending on topography, tidal level, and the number of organisms and species per system. Commonly two H. oregonensis, one P. crassipes, and one or more U. crenulata are found using parts of the same burrow system. The numerous entrances allow only lateral passage but internal enlargements permit turning around and passage of individuals. In cross section the burrows are lenticular, and the morphology of the walls is very knobby. Burrow entrances of Uca crenulata are at, or near, higher high water and extend either into a grapsoid system or a simple J-shape (up to 20 m), both of which may have a Y-shaped entrance. The entrance and extremity chamber are about twice the diameter of the knobby, cylindrical shaft which normally has a diameter less than 1 cm.

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