International E-publication: Publish Projects, Dissertation, Theses, Books, Souvenir, Conference Proceeding with ISBN.  International E-Bulletin: Information/News regarding: Academics and Research

Ecology, Diversity, and Abundance of Macrobenthic Crustaceans in Cochin Estuary, India

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Marine Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, INDIA

Res. J. Recent Sci., Volume 3, Issue (IVC-2014), Pages 137-148, (2014)


Crustaceans that filter plankton or bacteria from the water are common and diversified in estuarine environments. Other crustaceans are active predators or scavenge nutrients from detritus. A few are adapted to high salinity and are parasitic or sessile, hatching young that resemble miniature adults; others go through larval stages. This study examined the diversity and ecology of macrobenthic crustaceans from selected stations in Cochin estuary, Kerala. Field sampling conducted from June 2009 to May 2011 on monthly basis. The major crustaceans were amphipods, tanaids, isopods, insects, decapods, and acarina. Corophium volutator and Cirolana fluviatilis were the dominant amphipod and isopod species, respectively. Tanais philetaerus Stebbing was the dominant tanaid species. The crab species Halicarcinus messor was the dominant decapod and Neumania spp. (water mite) were the major Acaridae. Chironomid larvae were the most abundant insects. The temperature and pH of the sediments and benthic waters varied seasonally, and the dissolved oxygen content of the latter greatly influenced the diversity and abundance. The spatial abundance of the crustaceans varied between the stations, with a low at Station 8 (80 no/m) and a high at Station 5 (9733 no/m). The seasonal abundance was least (182 no/m) during the pre-monsoon season of 2011, and maximum (7935 no/m) in the post-monsoon season in 2009–10. The numerical abundance varied between the three zones of the estuary, with the maximum mean abundance found in the middle region (4452 no/m), followed by the southern (2582 no/m) and northern (1157 no/m) regions. The crustacean abundance fell remarkably between the first (3705 no/m) and second (1674 no/m) years. The numerical abundance was highest in the region of the estuary with high salinity, a moderate pH, and a high percentage of silt and clay.


  1. Rappert E.E. and Barnes R.D., Invertebrate zoology, 6th ed. Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia (1994)
  2. Stebbing T.R.R., Indian Isopods. Records of the Indian Museum, 6(4), 179–191 (1911)
  3. George M.J., Taxonomy of Indian prawns (Penaeidae, Crustacea, Decapoaa), Jn 'Contributions to Marine Sciences', dedicated to Dr. C. V. Kurien, 21-59 (1979)
  4. Dev Roy M.K., An updated systematic List of isopod Fauna of India, J. Environ. and Sociobiol., 9(2), 163-175 (2012)
  5. Dev Roy M.K., Mithra. S and Pati, S., Crustacea: Isopoda. Fauna of Maharashtra, State Fauna Series, 20(2), 387-393 (2012)
  6. Dev Roy M.K. and Nandi N.C., Checklist and distribution of marine and estuarine isopod crustaceans from India. Proceedings of Professor P. N. Ganapati Centennial Symposium on “Landmark Researches in Marine Biology” on 9th -10th October 2010, organized by Marine Biological Association of India and Department of Zoology, Andhra University, 23 (2010)
  7. Kensely B., Biogeography of the marine isopoda of the Indian Ocean with a checklist of Species and Records’’. In: Isopod Systematics and evolution, Crustacean Issue13, 205-264 (2001)
  8. Dev Roy M.K., Freshwater crab (Crustacea: Brachyura) diversity in five states of West coast of India, J. Environ. and Sociobiol., 9(2), 187-190 (2012)
  9. Pillai N.K., A preliminary note on the Tanaidacea and Isopoda of Travancore. Bulletin of the Central Research Institute, University of Travancore (C), 3, 1-21 (1954)
  10. Desai. B.N. and M. Krishnankutty, Studies on the benthic fauna of Cochin backwater, Proc. Indian Acad. Sciences, 66, 123-142 (1967)
  11. Kurian C.V., Ecology of benthos in a tropical estuary. Proc. Indian Natl. Sci. Acad., 38(3-4), 156-163 (1972)
  12. Pillai N.G.K., Distribution and seasonal abundance of macrobenthose of the Cochin backwaters. Indian J. Mar. Sci., : 1-5 (1977)
  13. Batcha A.S.M., Studies on the bottom fauna of north Vembanad Lake. PhD Thesis, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin. India (1984)
  14. Saraladevi K., K.V. Jayalakshmy and P. Venugopal., Communities and coexistence of benthos in northern limb of Cochin backwaters, IndianJ. Mar. Sci., 20, 249-254 (1991)
  15. Rao P. Vedvyasa., Maturation and spawning of the penaeid prawns of the south west coast of India, FAO Fish. Rep.57(2), 285-302 (1968)
  16. Cheriyan C.J., Studies on some boring and fouling crustaceans. PhD Thesis. Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin. India (1977)
  17. Sheeba P., Distribution of benthic infauna in the Cochin backwaters in relation to environmental parameters. Ph.D. Thesis. Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin,241(2000)
  18. Anon. NEERI., Carrying Capacity based Developmental Plans for the Greater Kochi Region (NEERI), Final Report to MoEF, Govt. of India, 545 (2002)
  19. Feeba Rani John., Meiobenthos of Cochin backwaters in relation to macrobenthos and environmental parameters,Ph.D Thesis. Cochin University of Science and Technology (2009)
  20. Martin G.D., P.A. Nisha K.K. Balachandran N.V. Madhu, M. Nair P. Shaiju, T. Joseph. K. Srinivas, G.V.M. Gupta., Eutrophication induced changes in benthic community structure of a flow-restricted tropical (Cochin backwaters), India.Environ Monit. Assess., 2011 May, 176(1-4), 427-38 (2011)
  21. Gohil Bharatsinh and Kundu Rahul., Ecological Status of Cellanaradiata at Dwarka Coast, Gujarat, India, Res. J. Recent Sci., 2(5), 1-5, (2013)
  22. Gaston G.R., Rakocinski C.F., Brown S.S. and Cleveland C.M., Trophic function in estuaries: response of macrobenthos to natural and contaminant gradients, Marine and Freshwater Research, 833-846 (1998)
  23. Kripa P.K., Prasanth K.M., Sreejesh K.K., Thomas T.P., Aquatic Macroinvertebrates as Bioindicators of Stream Water Quality- A Case Study in Koratty, Kerala, India,Res. J. Recent Sci.,2(ISC-2012) , 217-222 (2013)
  24. Pratyashi Phukan and Ranjan Saikia., Wetland Degradation and its Conservation: A case study of some selected wetlands of Golaghat district, Assam, India, Res. J. Recent Sci., 3(ISC-2013) 446-454 (2014)
  25. Amarnath A., Rojith G., Adhem Shahin and Rakesh V.B., Preliminary Assessment of Degraded Kottayam Chira Wetland using GIS and its Developmental Scope, Res. J. Recent Sci., 2(ISC-2012), 245-249 (2013)
  26. Balachandran K.K., C.M. Laluraj, M. Nair, T. Joseph, P. Sheeba and P. Venugopal., Heavy metal accumulation in a flow restricted, tropical estuary Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 65, 361-370 (2005)
  27. Martin G.D., Vijay J.G., Laluraj C.M., Madhu N.V., Joseph T., Nair M., Gupta G.V.M. and Balachandran K.K., Fresh water influence on nutrient stoichiometry in a tropical estuary, southwest coast of India. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research,6(1), 57-64 (2008)
  28. Martin G.D., P.A. Nisha, K.K. Balachandran, N.V. Madhu, M. Nair, P. Shaiju, T. Joseph. K. Srinivas and G.V.M. Gupta., Eutrophication induced changes in benthic community structure of a flow-restricted tropical (Cochin backwaters), India (2011)
  29. Anu P.R., Jayachandran P.R., Sreekumar P.K. and Bijoy Nandan S., A Review on Heavy Metal Pollution in Cochin Backwaters, Southwest Coast of India, International Journal of Marine Science, 4(10), 92-98 (2014)
  30. Chithra S.V., Amarnath A., Smitha S.V. and Harindranathan Nair M.V., Estimation of Effective Impervious Surface Area of Cochin using Satellite Images, Res. J. Recent Sci., 2(ISC-2012), 241-244 (2013)
  31. Menon N.N., Balachand A.N. and Menon N.R., Hydrobiology of the Cochin backwater system-a review. T. J. Pandian (ed.) Advances in Indian Aquatic Research, Hydrobiologia, 430, 149-183 (2000)
  32. Anastasios Eleftherioo and Alasdair McIntyre., Methods for the study of Marine Benthos, 3rd editions, Blackwell Science publishers, Oxford, (2005) , 137-148 (2014)
  33. Holme N.A and Mc Intyre A.D., Methods for study of Marine Benthos, IBP Hand book No. 6, Blackwell Scientific Publications (1971)
  34. APHA, American Public Health Association Standard a methods for the examination of analysis of water and waste water, 21st edition, (2005)
  35. Strickland J.D.H and Parsons T. R., A practical handbook of sea water analysis, Fisheries Research Board of Canada, (1972)
  36. Grasshoff, K., Methods of Sea water analysis. Edited by Grasshoff, K., Ehrhardt, M. and Kremling (2nd Edn.), Verlag Chemie, Weinheim. 419. (1983)
  37. Cladiu T., H.G. Rogers and H. Judit., Structure dynamics and production of benthic fauna in Lake Maniotba. Hydrob., 64, 59-95 (1979)
  38. Zabby N., An ecological survey of benthic macro-invertebrates of wojiweek, off the bonny river system rivers state. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Port Harcourt, 10 (2002)
  39. Idowu E.O and A.A.A. Ugwumba., Physical chemical and faunal characteristics of a southern Nigeria reservoir, Zoologist, 3, 15-25 (2005)
  40. Pennak R.W., Fresh Water Invertebrates of the United States: Protozoa to Mollusca. Third Edition. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA (1989)
  41. Kensely B., Anthuridean Isopod Crustaceans from the International Indian Ocean Expedition, 1969-1965, in the Smithsonian Collections. Smithsonian Institution Press, Smithsonian contribution to Zoology, No.304(1980)
  42. Sara, E., Lecoy., An illustrated Identification Guide to the Nearshore Marine and Estuarine Gammaridean Amphipoda of Florida, 1-499 (2005)
  43. Lowry J.K., Crustacea the Higher Taxa; Description, Identification and Information Retrieval. Version: Families, (1999)
  44. Larsen K., Tanaidacea: Families, Version: 2 (2002)
  45. Chapman J.W., Amphipoda key to Amphipoda Gammaridea. Chapter 10. Ir. library. xmlui/bitstream/ 545-618 (2007)
  46. Rogers D.C and M. Hill., Key to the freshwater Malacostraca (Crustacea) of the Mid Atlantic Region. EPA-230-R-08-017.US Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Environmental Information, Environmental Analysis Division, Washington, DC (2008)
  47. Clarke K.R. and R.N. Gorley., PRIMER v6: User Manual/Tutorial, PRIMER-E, Plymouth, UK, 91 (2006)
  48. Clarke K.R. and Ainsworth M., A method of linking multivariate community structure to environmental variables, Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.,92, 205–219 (1993)
  49. Fenchel T.M. and Kolding S., Habitat selection and distribution patterns of five species of the amphipod genus Gammarus,Oikos.,33, 316-322 (1979)
  50. Nair N.B., Distribution of wood borers in the Vembanad backwaters, Fish.Tech.,31, 108-111 (1994)
  51. Joseph S. and Ouseph P.P., Assessment of nutrients using multivariate statistical techniques in estuarine systems and its management implications: a case study from Cochin Estuary, India, Water Environ J.,24, 126–13 (2010)
  52. Sankaranarayanan V.N. and Panampunnayil S.U., Studies on Organic Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Sediments of Cochin Backwater. Indian J. Mar. Sci., 27–30 (1979)
  53. Ouseph P.P., Kumar S. and Joseph S., Monitoring of water and sediment quality in Cochin harbor – 8th half yearly. Report submitted to Cochin Port Trust, Government of India (2004c)
  54. Modlin R.F and Froelich A.J., Influence of temperature, salinity, and weight on the oxygen consumption of a laboratory population of Americamysis bahia (Mysidacea). Journal of Crustacean Biology,17, 21–26 (1997)
  55. Rajkumar M., Perumal P., Ashok Prabu V., Vengadesh Perumal N. and Thillai Rajasekar K., Phyto- plankton diversity in Pichavaram mangrove waters from south-east coast of India, Journal of Environmental Biology, 30, 489–498 (2010)
  56. Dauer D.M., Biological criteria, environmental health and estuarine macrobenthic community structure, Mar. Pollut. Bull., 26, 249-257 (1993)
  57. Rakocinski C.F., Brown S.S., Gaston G.R., Heard R.W., Walker W.W. and Summers J.K., Macrobenthic responses to natural and contaminant-related gradients in Northern Gulf of Mexico estuaries, Ecol. Applic., 7, 1278–1298 (1997)