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image of Crustaceana

The defence mechanisms and basic display patterns of Liocarcinus depurator have been studied in an attempt to understand the meaning of the spots on the dactylus of pereiopod V and to verify whether a hierarchical pattern related to food-access exists. We performed two series of tests to investigate (1) social hierarchy in food-access; (2) the significance of the spots.

In the first test we observed rather complex stereotype behavioural patterns, apparently associated with display of the dactylus spot. No hierarchical pattern based on the sex or size of the individuals tested was observed.

In the second series of tests we investigated the role of eye spots in Liocarcinus depurator in establishing a food-access hierarchy during intraspecific interactions. We repeated the previous tests after obliterating the eye spots in one of the two Liocarcinus depurator contestants. Results suggest that the eye spots in Liocarcinus depurator do play an important role as threatening, visual cues.

Si sono studiati i meccanismi di difesa ed i moduli fondamentali di esibizione in Liocarcinus depurator, allo scopo di comprendere il significato delle macchie sul dattilo del V pereiopode e di verificare l'esistenza di un modello gerarchico collegato al comportamento di accesso al cibo. Sono state condotte due serie di test, per indagare (1) gerarchia sociale nell'accesso al cibo; (2) il significato delle macchie.

Nella prima serie di test è stato possibile osservare modelli di comportamento stereotipati alquanto complessi, in apparenza connessi con l'esibizione della macchia del dattilo del V pereiopode. Non si è osservato alcuno schema di gerarchia correlata al sesso o alla taglia degli esemplari osservati nel test.

Nella seconda serie di esperimenti si è voluto indagare il ruolo delle macchie oculari in Liocarcinus depurator nell'eventuale instaurarsi di una gerarchia per l'accesso al cibo nelle relazioni intraspecifiche. I test precedenti sono stati ripetuti dopo aver dissimulato le macchie in uno dei due granchi contendenti. I risultati indicano che le macchie oculari in Liocarcinus depurator giocano un ruolo importante come segnali visivi di minaccia.


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