Advertisement

The importance of strength and stamina varies with ownership status in sand fiddler crab contests for breeding burrows

  • Denson K. McLainEmail author
  • Ann E. Pratt
  • Jordan Logue
  • Rhiana Barke
Original Article

Abstract

In sand fiddler crabs, Uca pugilator, contests between residents and intruders for breeding burrows often escalate to forceful pinching. In these contests, we found that winners had greater claw armature, greater claw pinching strength, and greater pinching stamina (the ability to persist in pinching at a strength close to the initial level). Winners were not superior to opponents in body size, claw length, or pinching resilience (the ability to quickly return to former pinching strength and stamina). There was also a strong resident advantage such that residents usually won when strength and claw armature were similar among contestants. A field experiment that controlled pinching strength and stamina revealed that (1) residents readily retreat into their burrows when challenged by a male of relatively high pinching strength and (2) only intruders with high stamina win contests in which residents retreat. Contests with burrow retreats are twice as long as other contests, suggesting that high stamina enables intruders to persist in engaging residents. Intruders who lost experimental contests were more likely to immediately engage another resident if they were of high resilience. The ability to engage in multiple contests in short periods of time could prove favorable to residents and may explain their relatively high resilience. This study indicates that strength is a component of RHP and that residents, by retreating into burrows, can force upon intruders the additional requirement of high stamina before they can usurp burrow ownership.

Significance statement

Strength and stamina have long been associated with victory in contests between males for breeding territories. However, territory owners may utilize features of their territories to gain an advantage over rivals who possess greater fighting ability. In sand fiddler crabs, Uca pugilator Bosc, males with larger claws usually win contests for breeding burrows but there is an ownership advantage. We show that greater strength (revealed in claw pinching force) leads to victory for burrow owners but that among intruders it only leads to an additional requirement for victory, the display of stamina (revealed in the ability to persist in forceful pinching). This is because weaker owners take refuge in burrows, forcing intruders into lengthy contests. Thus, the ownership advantage derives from the need of owners to display strength but of intruders to display strength and stamina.

Keywords

Claw RHP Resilience Burrow Performance 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank two anonymous reviewers for suggestions that much improved the final manuscript.

References

  1. Alcock J (2000) Possible causes of variation in territory tenure in a lekking pompilid wasp (Hemipepsis ustulata) (Hymenoptera). J Insect Behav 13:439–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen BJ, Levinton JS (2014) Sexual selection and the physiological consequences of habitat choice by a fiddler crab. Oecologia 176:25–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen BJ, Rogers B, Tuan Y, Levinton JS (2012) Size-dependent temperature and desiccation constraints on performance capacity: implications for sexual selection in a fiddler crab. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 438:93–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Andersson M (1994) Sexual selection. Princeton Univ. Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  5. Arnold SJ (1983) Performance surfaces and adaptive landscapes. Integr Comp Biol 43:367–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Arnott G, Elwood RW (2009) Assessment of fighting ability in animal contests. Anim Behav 77:991–1004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Backwell PRY, Jennions MD (2004) Coalitions among male fiddler crabs. Nature 430:417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Backwell PRY, Christy JH, Telford SR, Jennions MD, Passmore NI (2000) Dishonest signaling in a fiddler crab. Proc R Soc Lond B 267:719–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baxter-Gilbert J, Mühlenhaupt M, Whiting MJ (2018) Comparability and repeatability of three commonly used methods for measuring endurance capacity. J Exp Zool 2018:1–9Google Scholar
  10. Benelli G, Desneaux N, Romano D, Conte G, Messing RH, Canale A (2015) Contest experience enhances aggressive behavior in a fly: when losers learn to win. Sci Rep 5:9347 (6 pp)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bergman DA, Moore PA (2003) Field observations of intraspecific agonistic behavior of two crayfish species, Orconectes rusticus and Orconectes virilis, in different habitats. Biol Bull 205:26–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Booksmythe I, Jennions MD, Backwell PRY (2010) Investigating the ‘dear enemy’ phenomenon in the territory defense of the fiddler crab, Uca mjoebergi. Anim Behav 79:419–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Briffa M, Elwood RW, Russ JM (2003) Analysis of multiple aspects of a repeated signal: power and rate of rapping during shell fights in hermit crabs. Behav Ecol 14:74–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bywater CL, Seebacher F, Wilson RS (2015) Building a dishonest signal: the functional basis of unreliable signals of strength in males of the two-toned fiddler crab, Uca vomeris. J Exp Biol 218:3077–3082CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Camerlink I, Turner SP, Farish M, Arnott G (2017) The influence of experience on contest assessment strategies. Sci Rep 7:14492 (9 pp)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Charters JE, Heiniger J, Clemente CJ, Cameron SF, Nasir AFA, Niehaus AC, Wilson RS (2018) Multidimensional analyses of physical performance reveal a size dependent trade-off between suites of traits. Funct Ecol 32:1541–1553CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Christy JH (1982) Burrow structure and use in the sand fiddler crab, Uca pugilator (Bosc). Anim Behav 30:687–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Christy JH (1983) Female choice in the resource-defense mating system of the sand fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 12:169–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Christy JH, Salmon M (1984) Ecology and evolution of mating systems of fiddler crabs (genus Uca). Biol Rev 59:483–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Claussen DL, Gerald GW, Kotcher JE, Miskell CA (2008) Pinching forces in crayfish and fiddler crabs, and comparisons with closing forces of other animals. J Comp Physiol B 178:333–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Condon C, Lailvaux SP (2016) Losing reduces maximum bite performance in house cricket contests. Funct Ecol 30:1660–1664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cotton S, Fowler K, Pomiankowski A (2004) Heightened condition dependence is not a general feature of male eyespan in stalk-eyed flies (Dipter: Diopsidae). J Evol Biol 17:1310–1316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Crane J (1975) Fiddler crabs of the world. Princeton Univ. Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  24. Dennenmoser S, Christy JH (2013) The design of a beautiful weapon: compensation for opposing sexual selection on a trait with two functions. Evolution 67:1181–1188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Detto T, Jennions MD, Backwell PRY (2010) When and why do territorial coalitions occur? Experimental evidence from a fiddler crab. Am Nat 175:119–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Elwood RW, Arnott G (2012) Understanding how animals fight with Lloyd Morgan’s canon. Anim Behav 84:1095–1102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Enquist M, Leimar O (1983) Evolution of fighting behavior: decision rules and assessment of relative strength. J Theor Biol 102:387–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Enquist M, Leimar O (1987) Evolution of fighting behavior: the effect of variation in resource value. J Theor Biol 127:187–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fayed FA, Jennions MD, Backwell PRY (2008) What factors contribute to an ownership advantage? Biol Lett 4:143–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hemmi JM, Zeil J (2003) Burrow surveillance in fiddler crabs II. The sensory cues. J Exp Biol 206:3951–3961CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hoefler CD (2002) Is contest experience a trump card? The interaction of residency status, experience, and body size on fighting success in Musumenoides formosipes (Araneae: Thomisidae). J Insect Behav 16:779–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Husak JF, Lappin AK, Van Den Bussche RA (2009) The fitness advantage of a high performance weapon. Biol J Linn Soc 96:840–845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Husak JF, Ferguson HA, Lovern MB (2016) Trade-offs among locomotor performance, reproduction and immunity in lizards. Funct Ecol 30:1665–1674CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hyatt GW (1977) Field studies of size-dependent changes in waving and other behavior in the fiddler crab, Uca pugilator (Brachyura, Ocypodidae). Mar Behav Physiol 4:283–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hyatt GW, Salmon M (1978) Combat in the fiddler crabs Uca pugilator and U. pugnax: a quantitative analysis. Behaviour 65:182–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hyatt GW, Salmon M (1979) Comparative statistical and information analysis of combat in the fiddler crabs Uca pugilator and U. pugnax: a quantitative analysis. Behaviour 68:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Irschick DJ, Le Galliard J-F (2008) Studying the evolution of whole-organism performance capacity: sex, selection, and haiku—an introduction. Evol Ecol Res 10:155–156Google Scholar
  38. Irschick DJ, Herrel A, Vanhooydonck B, Van Damme R (2007) A functional approach to sexual selection. Funct Ecol 21:621–626CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Irschick DJ, Meyer JJ, Husak JF, Le Galliard J-F (2008) How does selection operate on whole-organism functional performance capacities? A review and synthesis. Evol Ecol Res 10:177–196Google Scholar
  40. Jaroensutasinee M, Tantichodok P (2003) Effects of size and residency on fighting outcomes of the fiddler crab Uca vocans hesperiae (Decapoda, Brachyura, Ocypodidae). Crustaceana 75:1107–1117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jennions MD, Backwell PRY (1996) Residency and size affect duration and fight outcome in the fiddler crab Uca annulipes. Biol J Linn Soc 57:293–306Google Scholar
  42. John-Alder HB, Cox RM, Haenel GJ, Smith LC (2009) Hormones, performance, and fitness: natural history and endocrine experiments on a lizard (Sceloporis undulatus). Integr Comp Biol 49:393–407CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kasumovic MM, Mason AC, Andrade MCB, Elias DO (2010) The relative importance of RHP and resource quality in contests with ownership asymmetries. Behav Ecol 21:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kelly CD (2008) The inter-relationships between resource-holding power potential, resource value and reproductive success in territorial males: how much variation can we explain? Behav Ecol Sociobiol 62:855–871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kemp DJ, Wiklund C (2004) Residency effects in animal contests. Proc R Soc B Biol 271:1701–1711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lailvaux SP, Husak JF (2014) The life history of whole-organism performance. Q Rev Biol 89:285–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lailvaux SP, Irschick DJ (2006) A functional perspective on sexual selection: insights and future prospects. Anim Behav 72:263–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lailvaux SP, Irschick DJ (2007) The evolution of performance-based male fighting ability in Caribbean Anlis lizards. Am Nat 170:573–586CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lailvaux SP, Hathaway J, Pomfret J, Knell RJ (2005) Horn size predicts physical performance in the beetle Eunoticellus intermedius (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Funct Ecol 19:632–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lailvaux SP, Reaney LT, Backwell PRY (2008) Dishonest signaling of fighting ability and multiple performance traits in the fiddler crab Uca mjoebergi. Funct Ecol 22:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lappin AK, Husak JF (2005) Weapon performance, not size, determines mating success and potential reproductive output in the collard lizard (Crotaphytus collaris). Am Nat 166:426–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lappin AK, Jones ME (2014) Reliable quantification of bite-force performance requires use of appropriate biting substrate and standardization of bite out-lever. J Exp Biol 217:4303–4312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Leimar O, Enquist M (1984) Effects of asymmetries in owner-intruder conflicts. J Theor Biol 111:475–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Levinton JS, Allen BJ (2005) The paradox of the weakening combatant: trade-off between closing force and gripping speed in a sexually selected combat structure. Funct Ecol 19:159–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Levinton JS, Judge ML (1993) The relationship of closing force to body size for the major claw of the fiddler crab Uca pugnax (Decapoda: Ocypodidae). Funct Ecol 7:339–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lim SSL (2006) Fiddler crab burrow morphology: how do burrow dimensions and bioturbative activities compare in sympatric populations of Uca vocans (Linnaeus, 1758) and U. annulipes (H. Milne Edwards,1837)? Crustaceana 79:525–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Lim SSL, Wong JAC (2010) Burrow residency and re-emergence rate in a droving species, Uca vocans (Linnaeus, 1758) and its sympatric associate, U. annulipes (H. Milne Edwards, 1837) (Brachyura, Ocypodidae). Crustaceana 83:677–693CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Lowe K, FitzGibbon S, Seebacher F, Wilson RS (2010) Physiological and behavioural responses to seasonal changes in environmental temperature in the Australian spiny crayfish Euastacus sulcatus. J Comp Physiol B 180:653–660CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Matsumasa M, Murai M, Christy JH (2013) A low-cost sexual ornament reliably signals male condition in the fiddler crab Uca beebei. Anim Behav 85:1335–1341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Maynard Smith J, Parker GA (1976) The logic of asymmetric contests. Anim Behav 24:159–175Google Scholar
  61. McCormick SD (2009) Evolution of the hormonal control of animal performance: insights from the seaward migration of salmon. Integr Comp Biol 49:408–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. McLain DK, Pratt AE (2011) Body and claw size at autotomy affect the morphology of regenerated claws of the sand fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. J Crustac Biol 21:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. McLain DK, McBrayer LD, Pratt AE, Moore S (2010) Performance capacity of fiddler crab males with regenerated versus original claws and by claw type in territorial contests. Ethol Ecol Evol 22:37–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. McLain DK, Logue J, Pratt AE, McBrayer LD (2015) Claw pinching force of sand fiddler crabs in relation to activity and the lunar cycle. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 471:190–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Miklosi A, Haller J, Csanyi V (1995) The influence of opponent-related and out-come-related memory on repeated aggressive encounters in the paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis). Biol Bull 188:83–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Moore IT, Hopkins WA (2009) Interactions and trade-offs among physiological determinants of performance and reproductive success. Integr Comp Biol 49:441–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Morrell LJ, Backwell PRY, Metcalfe NB (2005) Fighting in fiddler crabs Uca mjoebergi: what determines length? Anim Behav 70:653–662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Munguia P, Backwell PRY, Darnell MZ (2017) Thermal constraints on microhabitat selection and mating opportunities. Anim Behav 123:259–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. NG TPT, Davies MS, Stafford R, Williams GA (2016) Fighting for mates: the importance of individual size in mating contests in rocky shore littorinids. Mar Biol 163:50–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Otte D, Stayman K (1979) Beetle horns: some patterns in functional morphology. In: Blum MS, Blum NA (eds) Sexual selection and reproductive competition in insects, 1st edn. Academic Press, New York, pp 259–292Google Scholar
  71. Oufiero CE, Walsh MR, Reznick DN, Garland T Jr (2011) Swimming performance trade-offs across a gradient in community composition in Trinidadian killifish (Rivulus hartii). Ecology 92:170–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Parker GA (1974) Assessment strategy and the evolution of fighting behavior. J Theor Biol 47:223–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Parker GA, Rubenstein DI (1981) Role assessment, reserve strategy, and acquisition of information in asymmetric animal conflicts. Anim Behav 29:221–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Pratt AE, McLain DK (2006) How dear is my enemy: intruder-resident and resident-resident encounters in male sand fiddler crabs (Uca pugilator). Behaviour 143:597–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Pratt AE, McLain DK, Lathrop GR (2003) The assessment game in fiddler crab contests for breeding burrows. Anim Behav 65:945–955CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Schenck SC, Wainwright PC (2001) Dimorphism and the functional basis of claw strength in six brachyuran crabs. J Zool (Lond) 255:105–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Thurman CL (2004) Unraveling the ecological significance of endogenous rhythms in intertidal crabs. Biol Rhythm Res 35:43–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Vanhooydonck B, Van Damme R, Aerts P (2001) Speed and stamina trade-off in lacertid lizards. Evolution 55:1040–1048CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wilson RS, Niehaus AC, David G, Hunter A, Smith M (2014) Does individual quality mask the detection of performance trade-offs? A test using analyses of human physical performance. J Exp Biol 217:545–551CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Yamaguchi T (2001) Seasonal change of the hepatopancreas index in males of the fiddler crab, Uca lactea. Crustaceana 74:627–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Yamaguchi T, Tabata S (2005) Territory usage and defense of the fiddler crab Uca lactea (De Haan) (Decapoda, Brachyura, Ocypodidae). Crustaceana 77:1055–1080CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyGeorgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA
  2. 2.Warnell School of Forestry & Natural ResourcesUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

Personalised recommendations