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AB 13:97-105 (2011)  -  DOI:

Rumbling in the benthos: acoustic ecology of the California mantis shrimp Hemisquilla californiensis

E. R. Staaterman1,6,*, C. W. Clark2, A. J. Gallagher3,4,6,**, M. S. deVries5,**, T. Claverie1,**, S. N. Patek1

1Biology Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA
2Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York 14850, USA
3Leonard and Jayne Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, University of Miami, Florida 33124, USA
4RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program, University of Miami, Florida 33149, USA
5Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA
6Present address: Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Miami, Florida 33149, USA
*Email: **Equal authorship

ABSTRACT: Although much research has focused on acoustic mapping and exploration of the benthic environment, little is known about the acoustic ecology of benthic organisms, particularly benthic crustaceans. Through the use of a coupled audio–video system, a hydrophone array, and an autonomous recording unit, we tested several hypotheses about the field acoustics of a benthic marine crustacean, Hemisquilla califor­niensis. Living in muddy burrows in southern California, these large mantis shrimp produce low frequency ‘rumbles’ through muscle vibrations. First, we tested whether acoustic signals are similar in the field and in the laboratory, and discovered that field-produced rumbles are more acoustically and temporally variable than laboratory rumbles, and are typically produced in rhythmic series called ‘rumble groups.’ Second, we verified if the sounds were indeed coming from mantis shrimp burrows and explored whether rumble groups were produced by multiple individuals. Our results suggest that during certain time periods, multiple mantis shrimp in the vicinity of the hydro­phone produce sounds. Third, we examined the relationship between behavioral and acoustic activity, and found that H. californiensis is most active during ­crepuscular periods. While these crustaceans make a substantial contribution to the benthic soundscape, omnipresent and acoustically overlapping boat noise may threaten their acoustic ecology.

KEY WORDS: Acoustic ecology · Autonomous ­recording unit · Benthic · Crustacean

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Cite this article as: Staaterman ER, Clark CW, Gallagher AJ, deVries MS, Claverie T, Patek SN (2011) Rumbling in the benthos: acoustic ecology of the California mantis shrimp Hemisquilla californiensis. Aquat Biol 13:97-105.

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