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.

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 July 26, 2014 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 July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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