Neighbor burrow-plugging in Ilyoplax pusillus (Crustacea: Brachyura: Ocypodidae)
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The burrow living ocypodid crab Ilyoplax pusillus (De Haan, 1835) sometimes plugs the burrow of neighbors situated from 1.0 to 8.3 cm away with surface mud, while the neighbor, termed the pluggee, is in the burrow. Most pluggers were large males, whereas pluggees were smaller than pluggers and had a sex ratio close to 1:1. After being plugged, most pluggees usually reemerged on the surface within 5 min, but occasionally took up to 77 min to do so. The plugger always foraged or performed waving displays around the burrow of the pluggee while the pluggee stayed inside the burrow. Although the activity site of the pluggee was originally directed toward the burrow of the plugger or the adjacent area, after reemergence its activity site was oriented toward another direction. From these observations, it is suggested that neighbor burrow-plugging is a behavior adopted mainly by large males as a means of maintaining the area of their surface activities against smaller neighbors. My observations were made from June 1984 to June 1985 at Fukuro River Estuary, central Japan.
KeywordsJapan Surface Activity River Estuary Adjacent Area Small Neighbor
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