Mating system of the burrowing crab Neohelice granulata (Brachyura: Varunidae) in two contrasting environments: effect of burrow architecture
- 248 Downloads
Few studies conducted in crustaceans have demonstrated how habitat features could shape the mating systems. Here, the burrow of Neohelice granulata was considered as a resource used for mating, and its architecture was characterized in two contrasting study sites: Mar Chiquita Lagoon (MCL), an estuary composed of muddy sediments, and San Antonio Oeste (SAO), a marine bay composed of gravel sediment. Burrow features differed between study sites and occupant gender. Large males constructed burrows with a chamber in MCL and with a widened entrance in SAO, while small males constructed the same narrow burrows as females at both study sites. Field experiments demonstrated that burrows with chambers or widened entries are places used for copulation, although successful post-copulatory guarding was displayed only in those with chambers. The intensity of the agonistic encounters and the success of males in winning resources (burrows/females) also depend on the habitat characteristics. N. granulata shows a resource defense mating system where males employ different mating strategies according to the burrow architecture to ensure mating success.
KeywordsSalt Marsh Small Male Carapace Width Ovigerous Female Agonistic Encounter
We wish to thank to Micaela Vallina, Ximena Sirimarco, Paula Orlando, Paola Silva and Matías Maggi for their help on field work. We gratefully acknowledge Antonio Baeza for revising an early version of the manuscript, and Martin Thiel and Colin McLay for their helpful advice and for kindly correcting our English text, which highly improved this manuscript. This work is part of the PhD thesis of M.P.S.M. Financial support was given to M.P.S.M. by Neotropical Grassland Conservancy and Idea Wild; to M.A.G. by the Universidad Nacional Mar del Plata, Project EXA 459/09; and to T.A.L. by Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Project PIP 176. M.P.S.M. had a fellowship from CONICET.
The experiments comply with the current laws of the country in which they were performed.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Abele LG, Campanella PJ, Salmon M (1986) Natural history and social organization of the semiterrestrial grapsid crab Pachygrapsus transversus (Gibbes). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 104:153–170Google Scholar
- Baeza JA, Thiel M (2007) The mating system of symbiotic crustaceans: a conceptual model based on optimality and ecological constraints. In: Thiel M, Duffy JE (eds) Evolutionary ecology of social and sexual systems: crustaceans as model organisms. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 249–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Christy JH (1987) Competitive mating, mate choice and mating associations of brachyuran crabs. B Mar Sci 41:177–191Google Scholar
- Diesel R (1991) Sperm competition and the evolution of mating behavior in Brachyura, with special reference to spider crabs (Decapoda, Majidae). In: Bauer RT, Martin JW (eds) Crustacean sexual biology. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 145–163Google Scholar
- Ituarte RB, Bas C, Luppi TA, Spivak ED (2006) Interpopulational differences in the female reproductive cycle of the Southwestern Atlantic Estuarine crab Chasmagnathus granulatus Dana, 1851 (Brachyura: Grapsoidea: Varunidae). Sci Mar 70:709–718Google Scholar
- López Greco LS, Rodríguez EM (1998) Size at the onset of sexual maturity in Chasmagnathus granulatus Dana, 1851 (Grapsidae, Sesarminae): a critical overall view about the usual criteria for its determination. In: Proceedings of the 4th international crust congress, pp 675–689Google Scholar
- Norman GR, Streiner DL (1996) Bioestadística. Harcourt, MadridGoogle Scholar
- Olivier SR, Escofet A, Penchaszadeh P, Orensanz JM (1972) Estudios ecológicos en la región estuarial de Mar Chiquita (Buenos Aires, Argentina). I: Las comunidades bentónicas. An Soc Cient Arg 93:237–261Google Scholar
- Reta R, Martos P, Perillo GME, Piccolo MC, Ferrante A (2001) Características hidrográficas del estuario de la Laguna de Mar Chiquita. In: Iribarne O (ed) Reserva de Biosfera Mar Chiquita. Editorial Martín, Mar del Plata, Argentina, pp 31–52Google Scholar
- Sainte-Marie B, Gosselin T, Sèvigny JM, Urbani N (2008) The snow crab mating system: opportunity for natural and unnatural selection in a changing environment. B Mar Sci 83:131–161Google Scholar
- Salmon M (1983) Courtship, mating systems and sexual selection in decapods. In: Rebach S, Dunham DW (eds) Studies in adaptation: the behavior of higher crustacea. Wiley, New York, pp 143–169Google Scholar
- Silva PV, Luppi TA, Spivak ED, Anger K (2009) Reproductive traits of an estuarine crab, Neohelice (=Chasmagnathus) granulata (Brachyura: Grapsoidea: Varunidae), in two contrasting habitats. Sci Mar 73:117–127Google Scholar
- Smith RL (1984) Human sperm competition. In: Smith RL (ed) Sperm competition and the evolution of animal mating systems. Academic Press, New York, pp 601–660Google Scholar
- Spivak ED (1997) Cangrejos estuariales del Atlántico sudoccidental (25°41′S) (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura). Inv Mar Valparaiso 25:105–120Google Scholar
- Thornhill R, Alcock J (1983) The evolution of insect mating systems. Harvard University, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
- Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical analysis. Prentice Hall Press, New JerseyGoogle Scholar