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Suction-induced habitat selection in sand bubbler crabs.


ABSTRACT: We show that a decapod crustacean, the sand bubbler crab (SBC) Scopimera globosa, uses suction, which is the tension of moisture in the sediment, to select habitats at normal times and at the time of disaster events, through a range of controlled laboratory experiments and field observations at various sandflats in Japan. When SBCs are released on fields with no spatial suction gradient, their direction of movement is random. However, the situation clearly changes with increasing suction gradients, in which case the SBCs move to suitable zones for burrowing. Predictions based on suction-burrowing relationships coupled with the knowledge of geophysical state changes induced by suction dynamics are consistent with the observed formation of habitats throughout the seasons. Such suction-induced habitat selection in SBCs manifests itself in a robust way even following sudden events such as typhoons, where erosion and deposition processes distinctly alter the geomorphological profiles, as well as the states of suction, yet consistently yielding habitats at the newly formed, suitable suction environments. Repeated battles were observed in a suitable suction environment over burrows, with the competition rate more than seven times as high as that in a critical suction environment for burrowing.

SUBMITTER: Sassa S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6549993 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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