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Shell selection in the hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus

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Three shell variables were deemed to be important in the selection of a shell by the hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus (L.). These were the weight, volume and aperture width of a shell. Each of these variables were used in multiple regressions against crab weight for 25 Littorina littorea and 25 Thais lapillus shells chosen when both shell species were together in a tank, and for a further 25 L. littorea and 25 T. lapillus when the two shell species were separate. Principal component analysis was performed on the four groups of 25 shells selected, and multiple-regression equations were calculated using the principal components as the new variables. It was found that crabs chose a shell of suitable general dimensions rather than solely on the basis of one shell variable. The advantages of using statistical techniques developed in this paper over previous approaches to shell selection are discussed.

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Communicated by J.H.S. Blaxter, Oban

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Mitchell, K.A. Shell selection in the hermit crab Pagurus bernhardus . Mar. Biol. 35, 335–343 (1976). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00386644

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  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Statistical Technique
  • General Dimension
  • Previous Approach
  • Hermit Crab