Temporal variations in the air, soil, and fiddler crab (Austruca perplexa) burrow temperatures in southern Thailand
Uthai Kuhapong, Fahmida Wazed Tina, Kiadtisak Limsakun, Suranan Watthanaphong, Ekapote Luckban, Teethat Piyakun
Fiddler crabs live in an intertidal habitat and face several environmental constraints. Extreme environmental conditions, especially temperature affects their growth and reproduction. They use several strategies to deal with extreme temperatures. Among these, constructing burrows is important. Burrows act as a refuge during very high or low temperatures. This study investigates the temporal variations in air temperature, burrow temperature of large-sized male and female Austruca perplexa crabs, and the soil temperature near their burrows in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, southern Thailand (tropical climate). Air, burrow and soil temperatures were measured every 30 min in a day using temperature sensors. We observed that from 8:00 up to and including 17:30, burrow temperature was lower than soil temperature, but other times, burrow temperature was higher than soil temperature. In the case of air temperature, it was lower than soil or burrow temperatures most of the time in a day. When we compared temperatures among air, soil, and burrows at day (6:00 up to 17:30) and night (18:00 up to 5:30), burrow temperature was lower than soil temperature during the day but was higher at night. The air temperature was lower than soil or burrow temperatures on both day and night. This study shows that A. perplexa crab burrows can modulate the inside temperature and maintain a suitable temperature for the crabs.
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