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Hood building and territory usage in the fiddler crab, Uca lactea (De Haan, 1835)

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Adult males of Uca lactea build an earthen structure above the entrance of their burrows during the reproductive period. Most males start building from 0.5 to 2 hours after the exposure of the habitat. Males carry substratum by four walking legs of either sides but mostly by the major side for an average of 11 times. No special trend in the direction of the hoods was found. Most males reconstructed the hood when it was destroyed within 2 hours after building. The direction of the hood depends on that of the burrow, and males tend to build the hood to take the same or a similar direction as the burrow. The area surrounding a male burrow is divided into two sectors, a 180° area in front of the hood and a 180° area behind the hood. Males with a hood spent more than 80% of their active time in the frontal section. An area of 100 to 200 cm2 in front of the hood was kept clean, and its male used it as a waving ground and spent much of its active time there. We suggest that the hood is useful as a signpost to show the location of the male's burrow, but it is also built to make it easier to defend the builder's burrow against wandering males. Les mâles adultes de Uca lactea construisent une structure en terre ou monticule (en forme de capuchon) qui s'élève au-dessus de l'entrée de leur terrier durant la période de reproduction. La plupart des mâles commencent à la construire de 0,5 à 2 heures après l'exordement de l'habitat. Les mâles transportent le substrat en utilisant leur quatre pattes d'un côté, mais principalement en utilisant le côté de la grosse pince, en moyenne 11 fois. Aucune direction privilégiée n'a été mise en évidence pour ce monticule. La plupart des mâles le reconstruisent s'il est détruit dans les deux heures suivant sa construction. Son orientation dépend de celle du terrier et les mâles ont tendance à construire ce monticule dans la même direction ou une direction similaire à celle du terrier. La zone entourant un terrier mâle est divisée en deux secteurs, l'un sur 180° devant le monticule et l'autre sur 180° derrière ce dernier. Les mâles qui ont réalisé cette construction passent plus de 80% de leur temps d'activité sur l'aire frontale. Une surface de 100 à 200 cm2 devant le monticule est maintenue propre et le mâle concerné l'utilise comme aire de signaux et y passe la plupart de son temps d'activité. Nous pensons que le monticule est utilisé comme signal pour montrer la localisation du terrier du mâle, mais aussi pour faciliter la défense du terrier contre d'éventuels mâles errants.


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