Baseline assessment of heavy metals content and trophic position of the invasive blue swimming crab Portunus segnis (Forskål, 1775) in the Gulf of Gabès (Tunisia).
This study provides a baseline assessment of cadmium, copper, iron, manganese, lead, and zinc concentrations in muscles, gills, and exoskeleton of the Lessepsian blue swimming crab Portunus segnis captured in the Gulf of Gabès (Southern Mediterranean Sea, Tunisia) in November 2015. Furthermore, the species' trophic position is estimated using CN stable isotope analysis. The exoskeleton showed the lowest metal contents; in soft tissues, the essential Cu, Fe, and Zn and the non-essential Cd, Mn, and Pb showed the highest and lowest concentrations, respectively. The crab was characterized by a trophic position of 3.32, confirming its carnivorous trophic habits. Compared with literature data on invertebrate and fish species from the same area, Cd and Pb resulted remarkably low in the crab's soft tissues, while a food web-scale dilution effect was indicated. The need of a comprehensive assessment of the ecological impact of Portunus segnis in invaded Mediterranean waters is discussed.