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Agonistic interactions in the male fiddler crab Uca leptodactylaRathbun, 1898 at varying densities

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In this study we tested the effect of population density on agonistic interactions in male Uca leptodactylaRathbun, 1898. We recorded the crab’s behaviour in pairs or in groups of five animals composed of conspecifics and heterospecifics living in the same area (sympatric) and distinct areas (allopatric) of the mangrove forest. Allopatric conspecific crabs showed higher approaching and signalling than those in other conditions. The higher the crab density, the lower the interaction intensity between animals. Low-level agonistic signals were mainly displayed in high density (groups), while claw touch mainly occurred in pairs. Allopatric conspecifics showed the more intense agonistic interactions. Therefore, Ucaseems to decrease energy investment in unnecessary fights against sympatric and conspecific crabs. Population density is a major factor driving agonistic behaviour mainly when conspecific animals are kept together. This may occur due to the increased competition for the same resources.

Affiliations: 1: 1Departamento de Fisiologia, Centro de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil; 2: 2Departamento de Botânica, Ecologia e Zoologia, Centro de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, RN, Brazil

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2015-07-03
2017-11-22

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