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Circatidal rhythm of free-roaming sub-tidal green crabs, Carcinus maenas, revealed by radio-acoustic positional telemetry

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Activity patterns of sub-tidal free-roaming green crabs, Carcinus maenas (L., 1758), were monitored in real time using radio-acoustic positional telemetry in New Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada. Activity patterns were monitored relative to time of day and tidal height. Periodogram analysis showed activity was circatidally rhythmic, as activity increased with rising tides and decreased with falling tides. Potential proximate and ultimate causes of observed circatidal rhythmicity in C. maenas are discussed. In contrast to other studies, no circadian rhythm was observed in crab activity. This is likely because other studies have been conducted in the intertidal zone, where desiccation and predation stress favour reduced activity during daylight hours. This study provides the first demonstration of circatidal rhythmicity in sub-tidal free-roaming C. maenas. Les modèles d'activité des crabes verts subtidaux errants, Carcinus maenas (L., 1758), ont été déterminés en temps réel, en utilisant la télémétrie radio-acoustique positionnelle à New Harbour, Nouvelle-Ecosse, Canada. Les modèles d'activité étaient suivis par rapport au moment de la journée et à la hauteur de la marée. L'analyse du périodogramme a montré que l'activité était calquée sur le rythme des marées, car l'activité augmentait avec les marées montantes et diminuait avec les marées descendantes. Les causes potentielles directes et indirectes de cette rythmicité circatidale observée chez C. maenas sont discutées. Contrairement à d'autres études, aucun rythme circadien n'a été observé dans l'activité du crabe. Ceci s'explique probablement parce que les autres études ont été menées dans la zone intertidale, où le stress dû à la dessiccation et à la prédation favorise une activité réduite pendant la journée. Cette étude fournit la première démonstration de la rythmicité circatidale chez les C. maenas subtidaux errants.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, 100 Tucker Park Road, Box 5050, Saint John, New Brunswick E2L 4L5, Canada


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