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Swimming ability and burrowing time of two cirolanid isopods from different levels of exposed sandy beaches
Yannicelli, B.; Palacios, R.; Giménez, L. (2002). Swimming ability and burrowing time of two cirolanid isopods from different levels of exposed sandy beaches. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 273(1): 73-88.
In: Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 0022-0981, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Excirolana armata (Dana, 1853) [WoRMS]; Excirolana braziliensis Richardson, 1912 [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    Sandy beach macrofauna; Excirolana braziliensis; Excirolana armata; Swimming; Behavior; Rheotaxis; Burrowing time

Authors  Top 
  • Yannicelli, B.
  • Palacios, R.
  • Giménez, L.

    Most of the macroinfauna from sandybeaches is highly mobile, emerging out of the sediment when the tide rises, and using the swash to migrate up and down the beach face or feed (searching for prey or carrion). After swash excursions, they usually burrow back into the sediment, maintaining zonation at low tide. Therefore, the different species abilities to emerge, move around and burrow under different swash climates and sediment conditions are expected to influence observed distribution patterns. Nonetheless, few attempts have been made to understand behavioral mechanisms of these organisms in moving fluids.In this study, we used a flume tunnel to investigate the orientation, swimmingability and burrowingtime of two similar species of cirolanidisopods, Excirolana armata Dana and Excirolana braziliensis Richardson, under current velocities ranging from 5 to 30 cm·s-1. E. armata inhabits middle levels of dissipative to intermediate beaches, while E. braziliensis is found towards the upper level of a wider range of beach states. Both species oriented countercurrent above a threshold velocity, which turned out to be significantly lower for E. armata than for E. braziliensis. E. armata proved to be a stronger swimmer as shown by the higher velocities surmounted, and the less drags experienced at the highest current velocity. E. armata also burrowed faster than E. braziliensis. Burrowingtime was affected by sediment grain size and water content, but not by water flow. Once organisms managed to begin burrowing under different flow conditions, they were not affected by current velocity. Nonsaturated sand precluded burial, while coarse sand retarded it. Differences in the observed patterns of across-beach distribution may thus be the result of species-specific behavioral responses to swash climate, manifested in swimmingability, burying and orientation in directional flows.

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