Individuals of Pagurus criniticornis in a free-choice situation were experimentally tested under different laboratory conditions. In order to assess the effect of recently occupied shells on the size- and type-preference by hermit crabs, individuals were held for 30 days under one of the following two conditions: (1) excess of shells and (2) absence of shells. The crabs were then allowed to select shells from a wide array of empty gastropod shells of the two most-occupied species, as observed previously in the field: Cerithium atratum and Morula nodulosa. Preferred shell type (species) and size (shell aperture width and length) were correlated with hermit-crab size. The crabs showed a strong (100%) preference for C. atratum shells, demonstrating that recent and past experience did not influence either shell-type or shell-size preferences in this pagurid.
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ALM, RB and FLM are indebted to the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for Postdoctoral and for Research fellowships, respectively, and to the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP) for financial support during the field activities. Special thanks to the anonymous reviewers for suggestions and corrections on an earlier version of the manuscript, and to those who collaborated during the development of this study, especially our colleagues in the Laboratory of Bioecology and Crustacean Systematics. The support of the Postgraduate Program in Comparative Biology of FFCLRP/USP and the Centro de Biologia Marinha (CEBIMar/USP) during fieldwork is gratefully acknowledged. All experiments conducted in this study complied with current applicable state and federal laws of Brazil (License # 42338/98). Janet Reid (Virginia Museum of Natural History) revised the English text.
Handling editor: K. Martens
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Meireles, A.L., Biagi, R. & Mantelatto, F.L. Influence of prior experience on shell selection by the white spotwrist hermit crab Pagurus criniticornis (Crustacea: Paguridae). Hydrobiologia 605, 259–263 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10750-008-9305-4