Morphological and behavioural adaptations to the rocky substrate by the fiddler crab Uca panamensis (Stimpson, 1859): Preference for feeding substratum and feeding mechanism

Satoshi Takeda, Minoru Murai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The fiddler crab Uca panamensis (Stimpson, 1959) inhabits rocky shores. We examined its preference for feeding substratum - sand or rock - and its manner of feeding. The crab made its burrow in the sand among rocks but preferred to feed on rocks. The feeding time decreased as the distance between the burrow and the rock increased. We consider this to be a result of exclusive interaction among the crabs because they defended their feeding area on the rocks against others. The crab wetted a small area of rock with water held in the branchial chambers before and during feeding. It pinched up the wetted surface in the minor chelipeds, which have bundles of setae on the posterior tips of the dactyl and pollex, and put the material into its buccal cavity. It never expelled sand pellets while feeding on rock, which indicates that it swallowed the food particles directly, without sorting. The bundles of setae retained water by capillary attraction, which suggests that they capture the suspended tine food particles scraped from the rock. The wetting action may prevent the fine materials from dispersing. We consider that morphological alteration of the minor chelipeds, the application of water from the branchial chambers, and direct swallowing permit the fiddler crab to feed on fine materials attached to rocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-191
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Volume287
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Mar 11

Keywords

  • Feeding behaviour
  • Feeding mechanism
  • Fiddler crab
  • Minor feeding cheliped
  • Preference for feeding substratum
  • Rocky shore
  • Uca panamensis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Morphological and behavioural adaptations to the rocky substrate by the fiddler crab Uca panamensis (Stimpson, 1859): Preference for feeding substratum and feeding mechanism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this