Air-exposure behavior: a restricted or a common conduct among intertidal hermit crabs?
Perez Miguel, Marta
Wehrtmann, Ingo S.
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A new behavior related to shell care was recently reported for the intertidal hermit crab Clibanarius erythropus (Latreille, 1818) in the Gulf of Cádiz (southwestern Europe). It also has been observed in other species of the diogenid genera Clibanarius Dana, 1952, and Calcinus Dana, 1951, however, it has not been described as an active behavior. In the present study, intertidal hermit crabs from different species and localities were sampled to assess if air-exposure is a shell cleaning behavior restricted to some species of intertidal hermit crabs or if it is a more generalized behavior among species inhabiting intertidal habitats. The results revealed that air-exposure is an active behavior in species of Clibanarius and Calcinus, since we observed it also in Clibanarius albidigitus Nobili, 1901, and Calcinus obscurus Stimpson, 1859, from the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, although not in other intertidal species studied by us. We found interspecific differences in tolerance to physical stress of emerged hermit crabs. This air-exposure tolerance can be interpreted as a physiological adaptation to desiccation stress and is also related to the shell type they inhabit. Also, we provide additional features and details of the air-exposure behavior, combining observations of the first description in 2015 with our new field observations.
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