G.A. Mahadik, S. Agusti and C.M. Duarte
Front. Mar. Sci., 6:408, (2019)
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.