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Corpus Systématique Animale

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Vertical migrations in the tree crab Sesarma leptosoma (Decapoda, Grapsidae)

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Springer (journals)
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  • M. Vannini 1,2
  • R. K. Ruwa 3
  • 1) Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e Genetica dell'Università degli Studi di Firenze, v. Romana 17, I-50125, Firenze, Italy
  • 2) Centro di Studio per la Faunistica ed Ecologia Tropicali del CNR, v. Romana 17, I-50125, Firenze, Italy
  • 3) Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, P.O. Box 81651, Mombasa, Kenya

Sesarma leptosoma, somewhat similar to the Atlantic related species, Aratus pisonii, is an East-African mangrove crab which spends its entire life on the roots and branches of mangrove trees (mostly Rhizophora mucronata, Bruguiera gymnorhiza and Ceriops tagal). S. leptosoma never enters the water, nor does it ever venture onto the free mud surface at low tide. Part of the day and night it remains on the lower parts of the mangrove aerial roots, which are often encrusted with a wet algal mat of Bostrichia spp., searching for food and water. Twice a day, from ca. 06:00 to 08:00 hrs in the morning and 16:00 to 18:00 hrs in the afternoon, many of the crabs migrate as far as the leaves at the top of the tree on which they feed. However, they only spend a brief period among the leaves, from ca. 07:00 to 10:00 and 17:00 to 19:00 hrs, after which time they make their way back towards the roots again in two downward migrations. In the morning, the downward migration brings all the crabs back to the roots, but in the evening not all the crabs take part in the downwards migration and some of them pass the whole night in the tree tops. A comparison of the migration time patterns for two different periods of the year (June–July and November) shows that the number of crabs migrating along the tree trunk is modulated by the spring-neap tidal cycle, while the onset of daily migration seems to be controlled mostly by the light level and/or other climatological cues. The adaptive significance of this migratory behaviour is discussed. Observations reported in our study were made in Mida Creek, Dabaso, Kenya in 1991 and 1992.

Catégories Science-Metrix
  • 1 - natural sciences
  • 2 - biology
  • 3 - marine biology & hydrobiology
Catégories INIST
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
  • 4 - ethologie animale
Catégories Scopus
  • 1 - Physical Sciences ; 2 - Environmental Science ; 3 - Ecology
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Aquatic Science
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Catégories WoS
  • 1 - science ; 2 - marine & freshwater biology
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Marine Biology

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  • Arthropodes
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