Sand fiddler crabs have home advantage in competition for breeding burrows

phys.org | 2/6/2019 | Staff
trainman (Posted by) Level 3
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Sand fiddler crabs that reside in a burrow usually prevail if challenged by another, intruding crab, provided their claw pinching strength is similar to that of the competing crab, a study suggests.

The features of sand fiddler crabs that determine the outcomes of competition between intruders and residents of breeding burrows are identified in a paper published in the Springer journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. Dr. Denson McLain and colleagues at Georgia Southern University found that when a resident sand fiddler crab was challenged by an intruder, it took refuge inside its burrow, forcing the intruder into a prolonged fight that was twice as long as other contests. These lengthy contests require the intruding crab to display stamina alongside pinching strength, while the resident crab only needs strength. The mismatch provides the resident crab with a competitive advantage, according to the new study.

Dr - McLain - Author - Study - Strength

Dr. McLain, corresponding author of the study said: "Strength and stamina have long been associated with victory in contests between males for breeding territories. However, territory owners may utilize features of their territories to gain an advantage over rivals who possess greater fighting ability. We found that greater claw pinching force leads to victory for burrow owners but that among intruders it only leads to an additional requirement for victory, the display of stamina."

The researchers observed contests between resident and intruder sand fiddler crabs competing for breeding burrows on a beach in Florida. They analysed competitions between 159 pairs of crabs...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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