Underwater acoustic communication during the mating behaviour of the semi-terrestrial crab Neohelice granulata
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In semi-terrestrial crabs, the production of sounds has been recognized to be related to courtship communication dynamics. The present study aimed to assess if the crab Neohelice granulata (Varunidae) was able to emit acoustic signals and if they played a role in the crab’s behaviour. We also assessed the locomotor behaviours to examine these parameters in different mating contexts of crabs. The study was divided into two different experimental conditions: ‘solitary experiment’ (consisting of three combination layouts with male, unreceptive and receptive females alone) and ‘group experiment’ (consisting of mixed combinations layouts of males, unreceptive, and receptive females). Synchronized acoustic and video monitoring systems were used to record the acoustic signals and locomotor behaviours of alone and grouped specimens. The greatest values of locomotor behavioural parameters were observed in layouts with receptive females alone and with 2 males plus 1 receptive female, probably related to courtship behaviour. N. granulata produced two distinct signals, a multi-pulse rasp signal (highest numbers were recorded in layouts with male alone and with 2 males plus 1 receptive female) and a single rasp signal. These results may suggest that males use the multi-rasp signal to advertise their presence to other males or to attract receptive females.
KeywordsCommunication Semi-terrestrial crab Neohelice granulata Acoustic signals Mating behaviour
This work has been funded by IRSES-RECOMPRA Project (Staff Exchange Planning–Grant Agreement n. 295213) and supported by CAIMAR Joint Laboratory Italy-Argentina (Laboratori Congiunti Bilaterali Internazionali del CNR, 2017-2019) and by the project BOSS–Study of bioacoustics and applications for the sustainable exploitation of marine resources (Projects of major importance in the Scientific and Technological Collaboration Executive Programmes, funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation).
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