Advertisement

Marine Biology

, Volume 159, Issue 7, pp 1403–1416 | Cite as

Mating system of the burrowing crab Neohelice granulata (Brachyura: Varunidae) in two contrasting environments: effect of burrow architecture

  • M. P. Sal Moyano
  • M. A. Gavio
  • T. A. Luppi
Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Salt Marsh Small Male Carapace Width Ovigerous Female Agonistic Encounter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

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.

Ethical standards

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.

References

  1. 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
  2. Backwell PRY, Passmore NI (1996) Time constraints and multiple choice criteria in the sampling behavior and mate choice of the fiddler crab, Uca annulipes. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 38:407–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 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
  4. Bas C, Luppi T, Spivak E (2005) Population structure of the South American estuarine crab, Chasmagnathus granulatus (Brachyura: Varunidae) near the southern limit of its geographical distribution: comparison between northern populations. Hydrobiologia 537:217–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bas CC, Spivak ED, Anger K (2007) Seasonal and interpopulational variability in fecundity, egg size, and elemental composition (CHN) of eggs and larvae in a grapsoid crab, Chasmagnathus granulatus. Helgol Mar Res 61:225–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bas CC, Spivak ED, Anger K (2008) Variation in early developmental stages in two populations of an intertidal crab, Neohelice (Chasmagnathus) granulata. Helgol Mar Res 62:393–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brockerhoff AM, McLay CL (2005a) Comparative analysis of the mating strategies in grapsid crabs with special references to the intertidal crabs Cylograpsus lavauxi and Helice crassa (Decapoda: Grapsidae) from New Zealand. J Crust Biol 25:507–520CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brockerhoff AM, McLay CL (2005b) Mating behaviour, female receptivity and male–male competition in the intertidal crab Hemigrapsus sexdentatus (Brachyura: Grapsidae). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 290:179–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chan BKK, Chan KKY, Leung PCM (2006) Burrow architecture of the ghost crab Ocypode ceratophthalma on a sandy shore in Hong Kong. Hydrobiologia 560:43–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Christy JH (1982) Burrow structure and use in the sand fiddler crab, Uca pugilator (Bosc). Anim Behav 31:687–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Christy JH (1987) Competitive mating, mate choice and mating associations of brachyuran crabs. B Mar Sci 41:177–191Google Scholar
  12. Christy JH (2007) Predation and the reproductive behavior of fiddler crabs (Genus Uca). In: Thiel M, Duffy JE (eds) Evolutionary ecology of social and sexual systems: crustaceans as model organisms. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 211–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. deRivera CE (2005) Long searches for male-defended breeding burrows allow female fiddler crabs, Uca crenulata, to release larvae on time. Anim Behav 70:289–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 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
  15. Ellis L (1995) Dominance and reproductive success among nonhuman animals: a cross-species comparison. Ethol Sociobiol 16:257–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Emlen ST, Oring LW (1977) Ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of mating systems. Science 197:215–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Escapa M, Minkoff DR, Perillo GME, Iribarne O (2007) Direct and indirect effects of burrowing crab Chasmagnathus granulatus activities on erosion of southwest Atlantic Sarcocornia-dominated marshes. Limnol Oceanogr 52:2340–2349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fanjul E, Grela MA, Canepuccia A, Iribarne O (2008) The Southwest Atlantic intertidal burrowing crab Neohelice granulata modifies nutrient loads of phreatic waters entering coastal area. Estuar Coast Shelf S 79:300–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Griffis RB, Chavez FL (1988) Effects of sediment type on burrows of Callianassa californiensis Dana and C. gigas Dana. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 117:239–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Iribarne O, Bortolus A, Botto F (1997) Between-habitat differences in the borrow characteristics and trophic modes in the Southwestern Atlantic borrowing crab Chasmagnathus granulata (Brachyura: Grapsoidea: Varunidae). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 155:137–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Isacch JP, Costa CSB, Rodríguez-Gallego L, Conde D, Escapa M, Gagliardini DA, Iribarne OO (2006) Association between distribution pattern of plant communities and environmental factors in SW Atlantic saltmarshes. J Biogeogr 33:888–902CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 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
  23. Jivoff P (1997) The relatives role of predation and sperm competition on the duration of the post-copulatory association between the sexes in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 40:175–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Jormalainen V, Merilaita S, Hardling R (2000) Dynamics of intersexual conflict over precopulatory mate guarding in two populations of the isopod Idotea baltica. Anim Behav 60:85–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Katrak G, Dittmann S, Seuront L (2008) Spatial variation in burrow morphology of the mud shore crab Helograpsus haswellianus (Brachyura, Grapsidae) in South Australian saltmarshes. Mar Freshwater Res 59:902–911CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Li HY, Lin FJ, Chan BKK, Chan TY (2008) Burrow morphology and dynamics of mudshrimp in Asian soft shores. J Zool 274:301–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lim SSL, Diong CH (2003) Burrow-morphological characters of the fiddler crab, Uca annulipes (H. Milne Edwards, 1837) and ecological correlates in a lagoonal beach on Pulau Hantu, Singapore. Crustaceana 76:1055–1069CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lindberg WJ, Stanton G (1989) Resource quality, dispersion and mating prospects for crab occupying bryozoan colonies. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 128:257–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 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
  30. López Greco LS, López GC, Rodríguez EM (1999) Morphology of spermathecae in the estuarine crab Chasmagnathus granulata Dana 1851 (Grapsidae, Sesarminae). J Zool Lond 249:490–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Morrisey DJ, DeWitt TH, Roper DS, Williamson RB (1999) Variation in the depth and morphology of burrows of the mud crab Helice crassa among different types of intertidal sediment in New Zealand. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 182:231–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Needham HR, Pilditch CA, Lohrer AM, Thrush SF (2010) Habitat dependence in the functional traits of Austrohelice crassa, a key bioturbating species. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 414:179–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Norman GR, Streiner DL (1996) Bioestadística. Harcourt, MadridGoogle Scholar
  34. 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
  35. Parker GA (1970) Sperm competition and its evolutionary consequences in the insects. Biol Rev 45:525–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 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
  37. Richardson AMM (2007) Behavioral ecology of semiterrestrial crayfish. In: Thiel M (ed) Evolutionary ecology of social and sexual systems: crustaceans as model organisms. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 319–338CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. Seiple W, Salmon M (1982) Comparative social behavior of two grapsid crabs, Sesarma reticulatum (Say) and S. cinerum (Bosc). J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 62:1–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 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
  42. 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
  43. Spivak ED (1997) Cangrejos estuariales del Atlántico sudoccidental (25°41′S) (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura). Inv Mar Valparaiso 25:105–120Google Scholar
  44. Spivak ED (2010) The crab Neohelice (=Chasmagnathus) granulata: an emergent animal model from emergent countries. Helgol Mar Res 64:149–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Spivak E, Anger K, Luppi T, Bas C, Ismael D (1994) Distribution and habitat preferences of two grapsid crab species in Mar Chiquita Lagoon (Province of Buenos Aires, Argentina). Helgol Meeresunters 48:59–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Thornhill R, Alcock J (1983) The evolution of insect mating systems. Harvard University, Cambridge, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  47. Wirtz P, Diesel R (1983) The social structure of Inachus phalangium, a spider crab associated with the sea anemone Anemonia sulcata. Z Tierpsychol 62:209–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical analysis. Prentice Hall Press, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  49. Zimmerman TL, Felder DL (1991) Reproductive ecology of an intertidal brachyuran crab, Sesarma sp. (nr. reticulatum), from the Gulf of Mexico. Biol Bull 181:387–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. P. Sal Moyano
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. A. Gavio
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. A. Luppi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (IIMyC), Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET)Mar del PlataArgentina
  2. 2.Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y NaturalesUniversidad Nacional de Mar del PlataMar del PlataArgentina

Personalised recommendations