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Are laboratory studies on behavior of troglobitic species always trustful? A case study with an isopod from Brazil
- Silva, Ana Paula Bueno da, Oliveira, Isabel Pires Mascarenhas Ribeiro, Bastos-Pereira, Rafaela, Ferreira, Rodrigo Lopes
- Behavioural processes 2018 v.153 pp. 55-65
- Isopoda, amphibians, case studies, fauna, habitats, natural history, territoriality, Brazil
- There is a huge lack of information regarding the natural history of subterranean species, particularly focusing on aspects of the behavioral ecology of Brazilian cave fauna. In the present work, we aimed to describe and evaluate the behavioral repertoire of Xangoniscus itacarambiensis (Isopoda, Styloniscidae) through observations in the field and laboratory and also by means of complementary experiments. Overall, we recorded 25 spontaneous behaviors. Besides describing the physical habitat, we recorded some intraspecific interactions, agonistic and territorial behaviors, as well as the amphibian habit. There was a direct relationship between the size of travertine dams where they live (measurements of length and width) and the mean number of individuals, although there was no significant correlation with the pool depth. Behaviors observed in the laboratory differed qualitatively and quantitatively from those observed in the field, with individuals more active in the latter. This scenario alerts about the significant behavioral alteration of such isopods when removed from their natural habitat, what must be considered in future behavioral studies including troglobites given their natural sensitivity to environmental changes.