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Mating system of the burrowing crab Neohelice granulata (Brachyura: Varunidae) in two contrasting environments: effect of burrow architecture
Sal Moyano, M.P.; Gavio, M.A.; Luppi, T.A. (2012). Mating system of the burrowing crab Neohelice granulata (Brachyura: Varunidae) in two contrasting environments: effect of burrow architecture. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(7): 1403-1416. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-012-1917-6
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Sal Moyano, M.P.
  • Gavio, M.A.
  • Luppi, T.A.

Abstract
    Few studies conducted in crustaceans have demonstrated how habitat features could shape the mating systems. Here, the burrow of Neohelice granulata was considered as a resource used for mating, and its architecture was characterized in two contrasting study sites: Mar Chiquita Lagoon (MCL), an estuary composed of muddy sediments, and San Antonio Oeste (SAO), a marine bay composed of gravel sediment. Burrow features differed between study sites and occupant gender. Large males constructed burrows with a chamber in MCL and with a widened entrance in SAO, while small males constructed the same narrow burrows as females at both study sites. Field experiments demonstrated that burrows with chambers or widened entries are places used for copulation, although successful post-copulatory guarding was displayed only in those with chambers. The intensity of the agonistic encounters and the success of males in winning resources (burrows/females) also depend on the habitat characteristics. N. granulata shows a resource defense mating system where males employ different mating strategies according to the burrow architecture to ensure mating success.

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