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Hood construction as an indication of the breeding period of the fiddler crab Uca (Leptuca) leptodactyla Rathbun, 1898 (Decapoda, Ocypodidae) from Guaratuba Bay, southern Brazil

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Studies were carried out on the annual breeding period, lunar reproductive rhythm and daily activities rhythm of the western Atlantic fiddler crab Uca (Leptuca) leptodactyla Rathbun, 1898 from Guaratuba Bay, southern Brazil. This species reproduces from September to March, when ovigerous females are present and males construct their hoods. The monthly average air temperature fluctuates from 19.2 to 24.8°C in this period. Hoods were constructed in accordance with the semilunar cycle of the breeding period; it lasted eight days, with the maximum frequency exactly on syzygy days (full or new moon). On a sunny full moon day in midsummer, males began to construct hoods 1.5 h after the substrate became exposed to the air, as the tide went out; the maximum density of hoods occurred after 3.5 h. The breeding patterns of most fiddler crabs of the world including U. leptodactyla are not determined by species-specific rules but by environmental conditions of the habitat, while other species respond in different manner to the same climatic conditions. Construction of hoods by males is a secure indication of the reproductive period of the fiddler crab U. leptodactyla from southern Brazil. The timing of hood construction within a day is similar to that in its consubgeneric species in spite of differences in local climatic conditions.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, Federal University of Parana, Polytechnic Centre, P.O. Box 19020, 81.531-990 Curitiba, PR, Brazil


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