Are blue land crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) attracted to falling fruit?
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Many species rely on multiple modalities to acquire information about predation risk, potential mates, and food. We studied the sensory modalities of blue land crabs, Cardisoma guanhumi, used for food detection. We isolated the acoustic and seismic cues of falling fruit and measured latency to emerge from their burrows after hearing the sound of falling fruits, seismic signals associated with fruit drop, and a combination of both modalities. In contrast to a previous study, we found no support that either substrate-born vibration or sound-enhanced emergence time. In fact, the actual fruit drop caused slower emergence times at one site. This crab lives in a seismically variable environment and perhaps such species are likely to rely more on other modalities to identify food.
KeywordsMultimodal stimulus assessment Foraging cues Cardisoma guanhumi
We thank Rafe Boulon and the Virgin Islands National Park for permission to work in the park (VIIS-2009-SCI-0028) and the UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the UCLA Office of Instructional Development for its generous support. We also thank Jonathan Drury, John Fong, and Peter Narins for assistance and advice; Phil Ender, Xiao Chen, and Christine Wells for statistical advice; Earl Smith from Oyo Geospace for technical assistance; the staff at the Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station for hospitality and accommodation; and the editor and an anonymous reviewer for astute comments that have helped us improve our paper.
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