Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Big crab claws for bling or bang?

Date:
July 16, 2013
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
Male fiddler crabs tread an evolutionary fine line between growing an enlarged claw better for signalling to females or one better for fighting. Long light claws are better for attracting females, but not for fighting.

Crab.
Credit: Image courtesy of BioMed Central Limited

Male fiddler crabs tread an evolutionary fine line between growing an enlarged claw better for signalling to females or one better for fighting finds research in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. Long light claws are better for attracting females, but not for fighting.

Related Articles


Fiddler crabs (Genus Uca), are sexually dimorphic -- the males have one large and one small front claw while the females have two small claws. The males use their small claw for feeding and the large one to attract females for mating, threaten other males and as a weapon when fighting. As a flag the claw needs to be as large and light as possible so that it is easy to manoeuvre. As a weapon it needs to be heavy, with a thick cuticle, short pincers (dactyl and polex), and large muscle to close them.

Researchers from Gonzaga University and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute analyzed the morphology and mechanical properties of 21 species of fiddler crabs from the pacific, Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the Americas. Across the genus, different species have evolved a range of tactics. At the extremes U. argillicola has a small powerful claw but does not wave to attract females while U. heteropleura and U. saltitanta have weak claws but intense waving behaviours.

Dr Brook Swanson who led this study explained, "These crabs dramatically show the evolutionary trade-off driven by competing traits. The conflicting requirements of the claw for mate attraction and fighting may be the force driving and maintaining the diversity between species."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brook O Swanson, Matthew N George, Stuart P Anderson, John H Christy. Evolutionary variation in the mechanics of fiddler crab claws. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2013; 13 (1): 137 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-13-137

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "Big crab claws for bling or bang?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130716075837.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2013, July 16). Big crab claws for bling or bang?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130716075837.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "Big crab claws for bling or bang?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130716075837.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

Going Ape: Sierra Leone Chimpanzees Hail Ebola Retreat

AFP (Apr. 21, 2015) As money runs out at Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone, around 85 chimps are facing homelessness. The centre closed when the Ebola epidemic was ravaging the country but now that closure is beginning to look permanent. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blue Bell Recalls All Products

Blue Bell Recalls All Products

AP (Apr. 21, 2015) Blue Bell Creameries voluntary recalled for all of its products after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria. Blue Bell&apos;s President and CEO issued a video statement. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) Five years on, the possible environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill includes a sustained die-off of bottlenose dolphins, among others. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico started the biggest oil spill in US history. BP recently reported the Gulf is recovering well, but scientists paint a different picture. Duration: 02:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins