Journal of Ethology

, 28:171 | Cite as

Hunting and predation in a fiddler crab

  • R. N. C. MilnerEmail author
  • T. Detto
  • M. D. Jennions
  • P. R. Y. Backwell
Short Communication


Fiddler crabs are known primarily to be deposit feeders. They eat detritus, bacteria, and other small particles of organic material found in the sandy or muddy substrate on which they live. They have highly specialized mouthparts used to separate edible matter from nondigestable material. Here we provide evidence of cannibalism and predation in a fiddler crab, Uca annulipes. We additionally provide the first evidence of a fiddler crab hunting shrimp and insects. This study is an exemplary reminder that, even though an animal may have evolved highly specialized feeding traits, this need not preclude it from opportunistically acting as a generalist feeder.


Cannibalism Feeding Fiddler crab Predation Uca annulipes 



We thank Isobel Booksmythe and Jessica Bolton for assistance in the field. Research was funded by the Australian Research Council (to P.R.Y.B. and M.D.J.).

Supplementary material

A number of Uca annulipes males subdue and fight over a Penaeus indicus shrimp (MPG 8,570 kb)

Large male Uca annulipes feeds on a large dead male conspecific before dragging it into his burrow (MPG 3,448 kb)

Large male Uca annulipes chases and catches a small female conspecific before crushing her with his major claw and carrying her back into his burrow (MPG 12,434 kb)


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. N. C. Milner
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. Detto
    • 1
  • M. D. Jennions
    • 1
  • P. R. Y. Backwell
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Botany and ZoologyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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