Burrow defense behaviors in a sand-bubbler crab, Scopimera globosa, in relation to body size and prior residence
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The burrow defense behaviors in a sand-bubbler crab, Scopimera globosa, living on a tidal flat, were experimentally examined. Body size and prior residence influenced the results of struggles for the burrows, and large individuals or the burrow owners won in most cases when the intruders were not significantly larger than the owners. Most large owners defended their burrows by directly fighting their opponents. On the other hand, small owners defended their burrows in three different ways. (1) Owners fought directly against same-sized or smaller intruders. For larger intruders, (2) most owners returned to their burrows when the owner was nearer to the burrow than the intruder (returning behavior), and (3) owners sat motionless when the intruder was nearer to the burrow than the owner (sitting behavior). Success ratios of the three types of burrow defense were 38.2%, 88.5%, and 100%, respectively. It was considered that sitting behavior of the cryptically colored S. globosa has evolved because intruders cannot see motionless owners and consequently cannot detect the owner's burrow.
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