Zoological Studies

Vol. 61, 2022

(update: 2022.5.10)

Coexistence of Juvenile with Adult Ocypode gaudichaudii at Culebra Beach, Panama: A Temporal-spatial Partitioning Compromise

Adeline Y.P. Yong1 and Shirley S.L. Lim1,*

1Ecology Lab, Natural Sciences and Science Education, NIE, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Nanyang Walk, Singapore 637616, Republic of Singapore. *Correspondence: E-mail: shirley.lim@nie.edu.sg; shirley.limsl@ntu.edu.sg (Lim).
E-mail: ADELINE-YONG@e.ntu.edu.sg (Yong)

Received 29 May 2021 / Accepted 28 January 2021
Communicated by Benny K.K. Chan

The temporal-spatial resource use patterns of juvenile and adult Ocypode gaudichaudii were studied by comparing the zonation patterns and activity budgets of the two life stages at Culebra Beach, Panama. Burrow distribution of the crabs during the day and at night was studied over six months. Diurnal activity budgets of 46 crabs (22 juveniles and 24 adults) were determined by observing seven predominant behaviors upon emergence from their respective burrows when the burrow zone is uncovered after the tide recedes. The behaviors comprise three foraging-related activities (i.e., deposit-feeding, scavenging, and probing for food), the maintenance of burrow, walking, staying within the burrow, and resting at the burrow entrance. Juvenile crabs occupied a higher intertidal zone than the adults and had a higher emergence
rate at night. This temporal-spatial habitat partitioning could possibly reduce intraspecific competition between the two life stages, thereby enabling their coexistence in the habitat as well as increasing the survival rate of the juveniles, potentially raising the carrying capacity of the population at Culebra Beach. All 46 crabs—regardless of life stage—spent the highest mean proportion of time on foraging-related activities. Out of the three feeding-related behaviors, adults spent most time on deposit-feeding while juveniles spent most time probing. Only juveniles scavenged. In both life stages, a similar proportion of time was spent maintaining the burrow and staying within the burrow.

Key words: Diel activity pattern, Habitat selection, Intraspecific competition, Niche partitioning, Resource use.

Citation: Yong AYP, Lim SSL. 2022. Coexistence of juvenile with adult Ocypode gaudichaudii at Culebra Beach, Panama: a temporal-spatial partitioning compromise. Zool Stud 61:8. doi:10.6620/ZS.2022.61-08.