To document the poorly known involvement of larval-to-juvenile behavior in substrate colonization by a holobenthic species, we studied Nereis diversicolor. During incubation, larvae and post-larvae remain under the female for at least 10 d. Emergence from the parental gallery
and acquisition of burrowing behavior are simultaneous and take place when individuals reach the six setigers stage. This behavioral change is concomitant with an important morpho-anatomic event in nereids: the fusion of the first setiger to the peristomium, forming dorso-posterior tentacular
cirri. Our results on mobility of young developmental stages of N. diversicolor are discussed, first, from an ethological point of view. Second, they served as a basis for an eco-ethological reflection on the influence of biotic and abiotic factors on the temporal and spatial characteristics
of biotop colonization, taking into account the reproductive behavior and in situ spatial distribution of adult populations.
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