Journal of Ethology

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 63–68

Semilunar courtship rhythm of the fiddler crab Uca lactea in a habitat with great tidal variation

  • Tae Won Kim
  • Kil Won Kim
  • Robert B. Srygley
  • Jae C. Choe
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10164-003-0100-4

Cite this article as:
Kim, T.W., Kim, K.W., Srygley, R.B. et al. J Ethol (2004) 22: 63. doi:10.1007/s10164-003-0100-4

Abstract

Semilunar courtship rhythm is a widely distributed phenomenon among fiddler crabs in the genus Uca (Decapoda, Ocypodidae). Typically, synchronous courtship has been reported to peak near spring tides. To determine whether a region of large tidal variation shifts reproductive activity, we measured the frequency of specific courtship behaviors including claw-waving and semidome building for U. lactea males on Kanghwa Island, Korea. We found that synchronized courtship for U. lactea peaked near neap tides, whereas near the spring tides, seawater flooded the habitat and males predominantly fed on the mudflat. Although active females, which hold their burrows and usually feed on the mudflat, are abundant near to spring tides, males rarely claw-waved to attract females. This pattern is atypical for the species because other populations of U. lactea on Japan and Taiwan are synchronous around spring tides. We suggest that males invest most of their time in feeding during spring tides because foraging is limited during neap tides. During neap tides, males feed infrequently and thus expend stored energy on courtship signals. We conclude that patterns of reproductive synchrony may be dependent on food availability in periodically changing environments.

Keywords

Fiddler crabSemilunar rhythmSynchronous courtshipUca lacteaWaving

Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tae Won Kim
    • 1
  • Kil Won Kim
    • 1
  • Robert B. Srygley
    • 1
  • Jae C. Choe
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Behavior and Ecology, School of Biological SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoul 151–742South Korea