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Crawling behaviour of the amphipod Corophium volutator and foraging by Semipalmated Sandpipers, Calidris pusilla

Boates, J. Sherman, Smith, Peter C.
Canadian journal of zoology 1989 v.67 no.2 pp. 457-462
Amphipoda, Calidris, adults, animals, basins, burrows, food intake, foraging, littoral zone, males, spring, summer, Nova Scotia
During late spring and summer, the crawling behaviour of the amphipod Corophium volutator was studied on an intertidal mudflat in the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia. On average, less than 1% of the population crawled on any tide and these individuals tended to be large adults that were predominantly males. Animals emerged as the tide receded but most had crawled into burrows after 25 min. The crawling behaviour did not seem to be related to the lunar cycle as was expected; however, there was a sharp reduction in crawling activity (from 36.3 to 1.2 amphipods/m²) in July that coincided with the arrival of Semipalmated Sandpipers, Calidris pusilla, an abundant seasonal predator. The proportion of males in the amphipod population declined during the period when sandpipers were present. It appears that both a change in amphipod behaviour and depletion of the animals most prone to crawling may contribute to the observed reduction in crawling activity. Qualitative and quantitative evidence show that sandpipers were attracted to the tide edge where crawling amphipods were relatively abundant and that they increased their food intake by doing so.