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Barricade Building and Neighbour Burrow-Plugging in Ilyoplax Ningpoensis (Brachyura, Ocypodidae)

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The small ocypodid crab Ilyoplax ningpoensis exhibits two mud-using territorial behaviours against burrow-holding neighbours: building a barricade near the neighbour's burrow, and plugging the neighbour's burrow while the neighbour is in that burrow. Most barricade-builders and pluggers were large-sized males and, in general, barricade-builders and pluggers were larger than their opponents. Activity space of a barricaded crab was biased toward the side opposite the barricade. When the barricade was removed, the crab freed from it advanced toward the barricade-builder's burrow, suggesting that the barricade functions to deter the neighbour's approach. In neighbour burrow-plugging, the time to the pluggee's reemergence was mostly less than 5 min. The pluggee's activity site, immediately after reemergence, was not always shifted farther from the plugger's burrow. These features of barricade building and neighbour burrow-plugging are compared with those of three congeneric species that have been so far described.

Affiliations: 1: ) Department of Biological Science, Faculty of Science, Nara Women's University, Kitauoya nishi-machi, Nara 630, Japan; 2: ) Ishigaki Tropical Station, Seikai National Fisheries Research Institute, 148-446 Ota, Ishigaki, Okinawa 907-04, Japan; 3: ) Haiphong Institute of Oceanology, 246 Da Nang Street, Haiphong, Vietnam


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