Variability of a dynamic visual signal: the fiddler crab claw-waving display

Martin J. How*, Jochen Zeil, Jan M. Hemmi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fiddler crabs use elaborate, species-specific claw-waving displays to communicate with rivals and mates. However, detailed comparative studies of fiddler crab signal structure and structural variations are lacking. This paper provides an analysis of the claw-waving displays of seven Australian species of fiddler crab, Uca mjoebergi, U. perplexa, U. polita, U. seismella, U. signata, U. elegans and U. vomeris. We used digital video to record and analyse the fine-scale spatiotemporal properties of these movement-based visual signals. We found that the structure and timing of the displays is species-specific, exhibiting inter-specific differences that follow phylogenetic relationships. The displays showed intra-specific variation according to individual identity, geographic location and fine-scale behavioural context. The observed differences and variations are discussed in the light of the evolutionary forces that may shape their design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-67
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A
Volume195
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

Keywords

  • Dynamic visual signal
  • Signal variation
  • Fiddler crab
  • Sensory ecology
  • Claw-wave
  • UCA-PUGILATOR
  • MATE CHOICE
  • GENUS UCA
  • REPRODUCTIVE-BEHAVIOR
  • PERPLEXA DECAPODA
  • BACKGROUND-NOISE
  • MATING-BEHAVIOR
  • FEMALE CHOICE
  • COURTSHIP
  • OCYPODIDAE

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