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Effect of microclimatic factors and tide on vertical migrations of the mangrove crab Sesarma leptosoma (Decapoda: Grapsidae)
Vannini, M.; Ruwa, R. K.; Cannicci, S. (1997). Effect of microclimatic factors and tide on vertical migrations of the mangrove crab Sesarma leptosoma (Decapoda: Grapsidae). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 130(1): 101-108. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s002270050229
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
Author keywords
    magrove crab, vertical migration, microclimatic factors

Authors  Top 
  • Vannini, M., more
  • Ruwa, R. K.
  • Cannicci, S., more

Abstract
    The tree crab Sesarma leptosoma Hilgendorf migrates up the mangrove trunks twice a day, both in the morning and in the evening, leaving its refuge near the tree base to feed on fresh leaves. In spite of the 150 cm of tide excursion at the base of the trees, the timing of the migrations seems largely controlled by nontidal factors. The timing of the morning upward migration is controlled by the light level alone. The morning downward migration takes place as soon as the temperature rises and relative humidity falls, with no relationship to tidal cycle or light level. Only the evening upward flow seems primarily controlled by the tide, while the evening downward flow, which ends at twilight, seems to be related to the timing of the evening upward migration, to the tide and again to light levels. During the day, crabs abandon the canopy to avoid low relative humidity, usually coupled with the higher wind speeds, which would quickly dehydrate them. At night, crabs stop migrating, probably because their movements and orientation capability along the trunk and in the canopy are largely vision dependent. Nontidal factors have never previously been shown to influence the migratory behaviour of an intertidal crustacean species so extensively.

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