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Sex Differences in Predator Evasion in the Fiddler Crab Uca Tangeri (Decapoda: Ocypodidae)

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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

Abstract The major claw of male fiddler crabs, reaching up to 40% of the individual's total body weight, may impose a cost on males when escaping from predators. To test this hypothesis, 38 males (18 without the major claw) and 19 females were randomly captured and placed, individually, in a straight track. After a five-minute adaptation period, an observer walked toward the crab and triggered its escape reaction. Each crab was subjected to 10 trials with 5-minute intervals between them. The central area of the track was video-recorded with a camera from a height of 1.30 m, pointing to the ground at a 90° angle. Females ran significantly faster than males with claw, but the escape velocity of males without claw did not differ significantly from that of intact males or females. Speed was strongly correlated with air temperature. The distances at which males and females reacted to and hid from approaching humans did not differ. These results are discussed in an ecological and evolutionary perspective.

Affiliations: 1: a (correspondence) ISPA, Unidade de Investigação em Eco-Etologia, R. Jardim do Tabaco, 34, 1149-041 Lisboa, Portugal ( ; 2: b ISPA, Unidade de Investigação em Eco-Etologia, R. Jardim do Tabaco, 34, 1149-041 Lisboa, Portugal (


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