Epibiotic assemblages on the pen shell Pinna rudis (Bivalvia, Pinnidae) at Matiota Beach, São Vicente Island, Cabo Verde
The rough pen shell Pinna rudis Linnaeus, 1758 (family Pinnidae), a mollusc with an Atlantic–Mediterranean distribution, is able to live in coarse sandy substrates. Considering its shell structure and ecological characteristics, P. rudis can enhance biodiversity by providing a substrate for settlement on its shell. For this reason, we compared the diversity of benthic taxa around P. rudis shells with the species diversity on P. rudis shells, at Matiota Beach, São Vicente Island, Cabo Verde. We sampled an area of 900 m2 and recorded data in situ to estimate the population size of P. rudis and the epibiotic and benthic community diversity. The average density of P. rudis estimated in the sampled area was 6.6 ind. 100 m–2 and the highest density was found at between 2 and 3 m depth, mostly in biogenic and sandy substrates. The epibiotic species diversity on P. rudis shells was significantly higher than the species diversity in the microhabitat around the shells. The P. rudis shell seems to play an important role in increasing the biodiversity of the ecosystem, with some species found only as epibionts on P. rudis.
Keywords: biofouling communities, epibiosis, living substrate, marine ecology, protected species, spatial distribution, taxonomic diversity