AN EVALUATION OF LEKKING IN FIDDLER CRABS (Uca spp.).
The reproductive behavior of Uca has been extensively studied, especially the connections between the dimorphically enlarged male claw, female selection and reproductive success. Sometimes Uca males appear to aggregate in defined areas for the purpose of attracting a mate. In avian and mammalian species, these aggregations would be termed leks. The purpose of this study was to examine the lek-like breeding assemblages that occur in marsh habitats lacking vegetative cover. Three factors were considered: population dynamics, reproductive behavior, and substratum organic content. Four North American marshes were sampled; two on the Atlantic Coast, one on the Chesapeake Bay and one on the Gulf Coast. Males were significantly more common and more adults were found in marsh areas lacking vegetative cover. Moreover, individuals occupying open marsh areas spent significantly more time eliciting reproductive behaviors such as cheliped waving. Substratum organic contents (a measure of available food resources) in open areas lacking vegetative cover were equal to or less than organic contents in vegetatively covered areas indicating aggregative behaviors in open areas were not food induced. These factors suggest that lek behavior is an integral component of the reproductive repertoire of selected Uca spp.
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|Publication:||Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2000|
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