This investigation analyzed the ecological distribution and population structure of A. schmitti on the southeastern coast of Brazil. Crabs were sampled monthly from January 1998 to December 1999 at the following bays: Ubatumirim (UBM), Ubatuba (UBA) and Mar Virado (MV). Water and sediment samples were also collected from all sampling sites for an analysis of environmental factors. Acantholobus schmitti was most abundant at UBM (224), followed by UBA (154) and MV (23) but its abundance showed no association with the environmental factors analyzed. The low abundance of these crabs in MV may be due to the high wave action that moved biodetritic material accumulated on the bottom and frequently removed small crabs from their sheltered positions among the shell fragments. The individuals captured included 269 males and 132 females, of which only 4 specimens were brooding females. Juvenile recruitment occurred throughout the year, but was less intense in the spring. The major abundance of individuals as well as of ovigerous females occurred during 1999, when the entrance of the South Atlantic Central Waters (SACW) was stronger than in previous year. This environmental influence could be the main factor modulating this population.
Environmental factors; Panopeidae; Abundance; Water mass