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Immobility in Five Species of Fiddler Crabs, Genus Uca

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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

Abstract Fiddler crabs demonstrate a wide range of simple and complex behaviors in both mating strategies and defense mechanisms. During investigation, five species of fiddler crabs were observed engaging in immobility or catatonic behaviors after being turned upside down. While crabs were observed in a rigid, immobile posture for mean ranges of 45–171 seconds, several crabs were recorded to remain immobile for more than two hours. Fiddler crabs are often preyed upon by birds that use crab movement as a cue. Other crustacean species, such as lobsters, have been observed in this upside-down, immobile position after having their abdomens rubbed. Consequently, immobility may be an anti-predator strategy when escape is not feasible or a byproduct of tactile stimulation.

Affiliations: 1: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Department of Biological Sciences, 101 Warren Street, Newark, New Jersey 07102, U.S.A. (corresponding author (LLB); (JSW)


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