Why Mudskippers Build Walls

In: Behaviour
D.A. Clayton (Department of Zoology, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 5969 Safat, Safat 13060, Kuwait

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The proximate mechanisms of territorial behaviour in Boleophthalmus boddarti, an amphibious gobiid mudskipper that builds and maintains polygonal mud-walled territories provides a good example of the elastic disc concept of territories. The occurrence of wall building is density dependent and a contiguous mosaic of territories is only produced at high fish densities. Wall removal and replacement experiments show that the mud-wall acts as a visual barrier and reduces aggression between neighbouring territorial fish.

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