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Sand structure construction in Uca lactea (De Haan, 1835) is related to tidal cycle but not to male or female densities

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Males of several species of fiddler crabs construct sand structures at the entrance of their burrows, to which they attract females for mating. Although sand structures are able to attract females, males do not always construct structures, and there is a considerable variation in the frequency of structure construction per day. To determine what factors cause the variation in the frequency of structure construction, I conducted a field observation on the structure construction of Uca lactea and examined the effects of air and soil temperatures, tidal amplitude, male and female densities, and the interaction between male and female densities. The frequency of structure construction was related to tidal amplitude. This may be a male response to the changing levels of female receptivity associated with the tidal cycle. The frequency of structure construction was also correlated positively with air temperature. Although courtship investment is expected to be influenced by the number of mates and rivals, neither male nor female density were significantly correlated with the frequency of structure construction. Les mâles de plusieurs espèces de crabes violonistes construisent des structures de sable à l'entrée de leur terrier, vers lesquels ils attirent les femelles pour l'accouplement. Bien que ces structures de sable sont capables d'attirer les femelles, les mâles ne construisent pas toujours ces structures, et il y a une grande variation journalière de la fréquence des constructions. Une observation sur le terrain de la construction de ces structures par Uva lactea a été menée. Ont aussi été examinés, les effets de la température de l'air et du sol, de l'amplitude des marées, de la densité des mâles et des femelles, et les interactions entre ces densités. La fréquence des constructions a été reliée à l'amplitude des marées. Ce qui pourrait être la réponse du mâle au changement du niveau de réceptivité de la femelle associé au cycle des marées. La fréquence des constructions a aussi été positivement corrélée avec la température de l'air. Bien que l'on attende que l'investissement dans la recherche du partenaire soit influencé par le nombre de partenaires et de rivaux, ni la densité des mâles ou des femelles n'a été significativement corrélée avec la fréquence des constructions.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Ethology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan


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