Earthen Structures Built by Ilyoplax dentimerosa (Crustacea, Brachyura, Ocypodidae)


  • Keiji Wada

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    1. Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Nara Women's University, Nara
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      Wada, K. 1994: Earthen structures built by Ilyoplax dentimerosa (Crustacea, Brachyura, Ocypodidae). Ethology 96, 270–282

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Nara Women's University, Kitauoyanishimachi, Nara 630, Japan


Under observation, the small ocypodid crab Ilyoplax dentimerosa was found to commonly build three types of earthen structures: a barricade near its neighbour's burrow, a fence at an intermediate position between the burrows of the builder and its neighbour, and a minishelter near the builder's burrow. The sex ratio of barricade builders was found to be close to 1:1, whereas most of the fence builders were found to be female. Crabs against which barricades and fences were built, were usually smaller than the builders. Both barricade builders and fence builders had, in most cases, minishelters at the side, facing the barricade or the fence. Removal and rebuilding experiments for barricades and fences demonstrated that both structures functioned to deter the approach of the builder's neighbour to the builder's activity site. Fences also had the effect of restraining the movement of the builder toward the fence site.