The soldier crab appears in great numbers and feeds while wandering during daytime low tide. When they see an approaching object, they screw themselves into the sand. The mechanism of formation of mass wandering has not been clarified. In this study, to investigate if the soldier crabs use visual images of neighbors as a stimulus for wandering, dummy crabs were presented to crabs. In the experiments, one, two, four, or eight dummies were placed in a circle on a sand arena. Each crab was placed in the center of the arena and observed whether it burrowed into the sand or wandered. The proportions of wandering individuals in each experimental treatment were compared with the expected value. Significantly more crabs were wanderers when only two and four dummies were present. This result suggests that soldier crabs chose burrowing or wandering depending on visual image of the distribution of the neighbors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas