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Small males of the fiddler crab Austruca perplexa court more in the off-peak breeding period when large males court less

Abstract

Many animals adjust their reproductive investment in line with their current competitive abilities. High-quality individuals may breed in the peak breeding period because they have a greater probability of finding high-quality mates, whereas low-quality individuals may breed in the off-peak period to avoid competing with high-quality rivals. We observed a wild population of the fiddler crab Austruca perplexa to investigate the waving rate of large and small males towards large and small females in the peak and off-peak breeding periods. We predicted that large males would invest more in courtship in the peak breeding period and invest less in the off-peak period, whereas small males would invest more in courtship when large males invest less. It was observed that large males waved their major claws more frequently in the peak breeding period than in the off-peak period and waved more towards large females, while small males waved more in the off-peak breeding period and their waving rates were not different towards large or small females. For small males, investing more in courtship in the off-peak breeding period may offer a greater probability of acquiring females than competing against large rival males in the peak breeding period.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the villagers of Ban Nai Thung village who helped to catch the crabs during the field work. This study was supported by the Faculty of Science and Technology, Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University, Thailand, and Center for Natural Environment Education, Nara University of Education.

Funding

This study was funded by Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University, Thailand.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

FWT designed the study and carried out the fieldwork. DM and FWT analysed the data and drafted the manuscript. Both authors gave final approval.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fahmida Wazed Tina.

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Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All animals in this study were handled in accordance with Thailand’s Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2535 (1992). No animal was harmed during the conduct of this study. Animals were video recorded from distances of at least 2 m and then caught by hand to measure their body size. After their body size was measured, they were released in the same place where they were caught. This article does not report on any study with human participants.

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Tina, F.W., Muramatsu, D. Small males of the fiddler crab Austruca perplexa court more in the off-peak breeding period when large males court less. J Ethol 39, 297–308 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-021-00703-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-021-00703-4

Keywords

  • Off-peak breeding
  • Reproductive investment
  • Competitive ability
  • Attractiveness
  • Choosiness
  • Waving display