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The locomotor toolbox of the spanner crab, Ranina ranina (brachyura, Raninidae)

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image of Crustaceana

Digging is not a well-understood form of locomotion, and it poses different mechanical problems than other forms of locomotion (e.g., walking). The spanner crab (Ranina ranina) digs into sand, primarily using its pereiopods. Above sand, pereiopod movement is variable, with four different movement patterns revealed by tip trajectories. The most common pattern of pereiopod movement above sand is the pattern apparently used for digging: pereiopods 2 and 3 shovel sand forward from underneath the animal, while pereiopod 4 shovels in the opposite direction, pushing the posterior end down into the sand. When above sand, each pair of pereiopods moves in bilateral alternation, but R. ranina switches gait to bilateral synchrony as it descends into sand. The abdomen is also rhythmically active during digging, despite being small and relatively stiff. Ranina ranina can also locomote forward on top of the substrate by punting with pereiopods 2 and 3. Although many aspects of digging in R. ranina are similar to those of digging by other crustaceans, particularly anomuran sand crabs, R. ranina has retained a wider behavioural repertoire. S'enfoncer dans le substrat n'est pas une forme de locomotion bien comprise, et pose des problèmes mécaniques différents des autres modes de locomotion (comme par exemple la marche). Le crabe Ranina ranina s'enfonce dans le sable, utilisant en premier ses péréiopodes. Au-dessus du sable, le mouvement des péréiopodes est variable, avec quatre modèles de mouvement différents, révélés par les trajectoires des extrémités. Le modèle le plus commun du mouvement du péréiopode au-dessus du sable est celui apparemment utilisé pour s'enfoncer : les péréiopodes 2 et 3 rejettent le sable de dessous l'animal vers l'extérieur, tandis que le péréiopode 4 opère en sens inverse, poussant la partie postérieure de l'animal dans le sable. Quand l'animal est sur le sable, chaque paire de péréiopodes se déplace latéralement dans un sens et dans l'autre alternativement, mais R. ranina change de mouvement, suivant une synchronie bilatérale quand il descend dans le sable. L'abdomen est aussi actif en rythme, quand l'animal s'enfonce, en dépit de sa petite taille et de sa relative raideur. Ranina ranina peut aussi se déplacer vers la surface du substrat en ramant avec ses péréiopodes


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