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 December 22, 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 December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

New Fish Species Discovered, Setting Record for World's Deepest

Buzz60 (Dec. 22, 2014) A new species of fish is discovered living five miles beneath the ocean surface, making it the deepest living fish on earth. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
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