Substrate (acoustic/vibrational) communication and ecology of the ghost crab Ocypode jousseaumei (Brachyura: Ocypodidae)

David Clayton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Semi-terrestrial ghost crabs, Ocypode jousseaumei, are active on sheltered beaches at low tide. Each tidal cycle, males construct courtship burrows that spiral according to the handedness of the crab's major chela. Burrows are over-dispersed since residents prevent other crabs from excavating burrows too close and some emerging crabs abandon their burrows. Other wandering crabs may enter courtship burrows eliciting threatening displays or fights which are more severe in like-handed crab social interactions. Sometimes residents are evicted. The details of vibrational/acoustic signalling of male O. jousseaumei are reported, including the first complete description of stridulation. The approach of crabs of any species or sex elicits increased rapping behaviour by residents, but close passage or entry elicits stridulation from within the burrow. Rapping is probably a signal to advertise residents' location while stridulation is used for burrow defence. It is probable that male crabs' vibrational/acoustic signalling is also influenced by that of neighbours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-70
Number of pages18
JournalMarine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • Behaviour
  • Ecology
  • Ghost crab
  • Ocypode jousseaumei
  • Rapping stridulation
  • Sound production
  • Vibrational communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science


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