The soldier crab Mictyris guinotae Davie, Shih & Chan, 2010 inhabiting sandy tidal flats in the Ryukyu Is., Japan, are deposit feeders in two regions: its upper habitat where it burrows and the shoreline. The crabs usually migrate between these two regions during the period of emergence at the daytime and night-time low tide. The aim of this study was to determine which kind of sediments are chosen by the crabs when burrowing. Experiments designed to investigate burrowing-site selection revealed that the crabs preferably burrowed in sediment that had been conditioned through feeding by conspecific crabs, but not in sediment that had been conditioned by conspecific crabs walking on its surface. Moreover, the crabs never showed any preference for burrowing in sediment that had been conditioned through feeding by the competitor fiddler crab Austruca perplexa (H. Milne Edwards, 1852); both soldier (prey) and fiddler (predator) crabs sympatrically inhabit the tidal flat, but segregate their habitats with a transition area. These results suggest that chemical cues in sediment conditioned through feeding by conspecific soldier crabs affect where crabs burrow.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science