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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Pairs of the crab Trapezia ferruginea and the snapping shrimp Alpheus lottini live in very stable communities on Indo-Pacific pocilloporid corals. Both crabs and shrimps were observed to defend the coral against intruders of both species in the field. In the laboratory it has been shown that various appeasement patterns must be performed by an intruder shrimp towards a crab before the shrimp is accepted on the coral by the crab. These patterns appear to be borrowed from the crab's appeasement repertoire and are never performed between shrimps among themselves. The shrimp, as the weaker of the two, has to "learn" how to inhibit the stronger crab's aggression by using the crab's own language.

Affiliations: 1: Istituto di Zoologia dell'Università, via Romana 17, 50125, Firenze, Italy.


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