Distribution and characteristics of Halobates germanus population in the Red Sea
byGauri A. Mahadik, Susana Agusti, Carlos M. Duarte
Mahadik, G. A., Agusti, S., & Duarte, C. M. (2019). Distribution and characteristics of Halobates germanus population in the Red Sea. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6, 408.
We investigated the occurrence of the sea skater Halobates spp. from samples collected at a fixed time series station and from six cruises along the north-south extend of the Red Sea during 2016–2018. Halobates germanus White, 1883 was the only species found during our study, its distribution ranging between 17° 9′N and 27° 27′N and between 35° 67′E and 41° 49′E. Total H. germanus abundance ranged between zero to 158,610 individuals km-2 with a considerable temporal (at the fixed station) and spatial (cruises) variation. In general, nymphs of different instar stages dominated the population, followed by females and males. The sex ratio was female-biased, with a higher number of females than males. Presence and prevalence of eggs, exuviae (molts), and early nymphal stages indicate a year round breeding cycle by H. germanus. The apparent optimum temperature for H. germanus occurrence in the central Red Sea was at 28.2°C, corresponding to peak abundances in spring and fall. Absence of any significant correlation of the abundances with environmental parameters indicate relative resilience of H. germanus to changes in environmental conditions.