Microhabitat and rhythmic behavior of tiger beetle Callytron yuasai okinawense larvae in a mangrove forest in Japan


Aya Satoh, Laboratory of Ecology and Systematics, Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara-cho, Okinawa, 903-0213 Japan. Email: ayasatoh@sci.u-ryukyu.ac.jp


Mangrove forests are regularly flooded by tides at intervals of approximately 12.4 h (tidal rhythm). Larvae of the tiger beetle Callytron yuasai okinawense in a mangrove forest made shallow burrows in mounds up to 1 m in height constructed by the mud lobster Thalassina anomala. No larval burrows were observed on the forest floor, which was very muddy even during low tide. Some larvae plugged the burrow openings before they were submerged at high tide. The mean interval between consecutive burrow plugging events was 12.37 h, which is similar to the period of tidal cycles. Nine out of 30 larvae plugged the burrow openings even when the burrows did not become submerged. Plugging behavior may be governed by an endogenous biological clock, or may be a response to exogenous information about tidal level (e.g. moisture seeping through the ground).