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Evidence of precision engineering in the excavation of Ocypode ceratophthalmus burrows on the west and east coasts of Thailand

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[The morphology of the burrows of the ghost crab Ocypode ceratophthalmus (Pallas, 1772) was studied at Ao Yon and Cape Panwa on the west coast of Thailand and, previously, at Sai Kaew on Thailand's east coast. Granulometric analysis showed that the sediment grain size and composition differed between sites. Thirty-three of 54 burrows (61%) from the west coast and 50 of 104 (48%) on the east coast were Y-shaped, the most common shape at all sites. Y-shaped burrows had one arm that opened on the surface and one which terminated just below the surface. The angles of descent of the two arms of the Y and the angle of the single descending shaft relative to the vertical, did not differ between: (1) juvenile and young adult crabs at Ao Yon, (2) juvenile crabs from Ao Yon and Cape Panwa, (3) juvenile crabs from both coasts. The precision with which this crab constructs Y-shaped burrows across sites and sediment types, indicates that burrow morphology is functionally important, perhaps for defence against predators. La morphologie des terriers du crabe-fantôme Ocypode ceratophthalmus (Pallas, 1772) a été étudiée à Ao Yon et à Cape Panwa sur la côte occidentale de la Thaïlande et auparavant, à Sai Kaew sur la côte orientale. L'analyse granulométrique montre que la taille des grains du sédiment et leur composition diffèrent entre les sites. Trente-trois des 54 terriers (61%) de la côte Ouest et 50 sur les 104 (48%) de la côte Est étaient en forme de Y, la forme la plus commune dans tous les sites. Les terriers en Y avaient un bras ouvrant à la surface et l'autre se terminant juste sous la surface. Les angles de pente des deux bras du Y, et l'angle de l'axe unique descendant par rapport à la verticale, ne différaient pas entre (1) les juvéniles et les jeunes crabes adultes de Ao Yon, (2) les crabes juvéniles de Ao Yon et de Cape Panwa, (3) les crabes juvéniles des deux côtes. La précision avec laquelle ce crabe construit les terriers en Y sur les différents sites et avec des types différents de sédiments indique que la morphologie du terrier est fonctionnellement importante, peut-être pour la défense contre les prédateurs., The morphology of the burrows of the ghost crab Ocypode ceratophthalmus (Pallas, 1772) was studied at Ao Yon and Cape Panwa on the west coast of Thailand and, previously, at Sai Kaew on Thailand's east coast. Granulometric analysis showed that the sediment grain size and composition differed between sites. Thirty-three of 54 burrows (61%) from the west coast and 50 of 104 (48%) on the east coast were Y-shaped, the most common shape at all sites. Y-shaped burrows had one arm that opened on the surface and one which terminated just below the surface. The angles of descent of the two arms of the Y and the angle of the single descending shaft relative to the vertical, did not differ between: (1) juvenile and young adult crabs at Ao Yon, (2) juvenile crabs from Ao Yon and Cape Panwa, (3) juvenile crabs from both coasts. The precision with which this crab constructs Y-shaped burrows across sites and sediment types, indicates that burrow morphology is functionally important, perhaps for defence against predators. La morphologie des terriers du crabe-fantôme Ocypode ceratophthalmus (Pallas, 1772) a été étudiée à Ao Yon et à Cape Panwa sur la côte occidentale de la Thaïlande et auparavant, à Sai Kaew sur la côte orientale. L'analyse granulométrique montre que la taille des grains du sédiment et leur composition diffèrent entre les sites. Trente-trois des 54 terriers (61%) de la côte Ouest et 50 sur les 104 (48%) de la côte Est étaient en forme de Y, la forme la plus commune dans tous les sites. Les terriers en Y avaient un bras ouvrant à la surface et l'autre se terminant juste sous la surface. Les angles de pente des deux bras du Y, et l'angle de l'axe unique descendant par rapport à la verticale, ne différaient pas entre (1) les juvéniles et les jeunes crabes adultes de Ao Yon, (2) les crabes juvéniles de Ao Yon et de Cape Panwa, (3) les crabes juvéniles des deux côtes. La précision avec laquelle ce crabe construit les terriers en Y sur les différents sites et avec des types différents de sédiments indique que la morphologie du terrier est fonctionnellement importante, peut-être pour la défense contre les prédateurs.]

Affiliations: 1: Ecology Lab., Natural Sciences and Science Education, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616, Rep. of Singapore; 2: School of Biology, Institute of Science, Walailak University, Thasala, Nakhon Si Thammarat 80160, Thailand

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/content/journals/10.1163/001121611x577882
2011-05-01
2016-12-09

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