Proceedings of the Zoological Society

, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 17–24 | Cite as

Comparative Burrow Architectures of Resident Fiddler Crabs (Ocypodidae) in Indian Sundarban Mangroves to Assess Their Suitability as Bioturbating Agents

Research Article
  • 55 Downloads

Abstract

Excavation of burrows by fiddler crabs (genus Uca) is an important component in mangrove ecosystem functioning. This bioturbation activity can be measured by analysing the burrow architecture of these crabs. The aim of the present study is to describe and evaluate inter specific differences in the burrow morphologies of four species of fiddler crabs (Uca rosea, Uca triangularis, Uca dussumieri and Uca vocans) using polyester resin casts of the burrows. For each of the species, sex and carapace width (CW; mm) were determined for all the individuals. Three burrow morphological characters viz. burrow diameter (BD; mm), total burrow depth (TBD; mm) and burrow volume (BV; cm3) were considered during the study. Density of each species throughout the year was also assessed. For all the species BD and BV were higher in case of males compared to the females and they showed significant positive correlation with the CW of the burrow inhabitants. The amount of sediment excavated by each crab was evaluated in terms of BV. Among all the studied species, U. rosea was established as the most potent bioturbative candidate in the studied mangrove due to their greater density and moderate ability to excavate burrow.

Keywords

Mangroves Fiddler crabs Resin cast Burrow architecture Ecosystem functioning 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are thankful to the Head, Departmant of Zoology, University of Calcutta, India for the facilities provided. The senior research fellowship [UGC/938/Jr, Fellow (Upgradation)] by the University Grant Commission to the first author is thankfully acknowledged. The authors are also grateful to the villagers of Jhorkhali of Indian Sundarbans for their co operations.

References

  1. Backwell, P.R.Y., and N.I. Passmore. 1996. Time constraints and multiple choice criteria in the sampling behavior and mate choice of fiddler crab, Uca annulipes. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 38: 407–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bertness, M.D., and T. Miller. 1984. The distribution and dynamics of Uca pugnax (Smith) burrows in a New England salt marsh. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 83: 211–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Botto, F., and O. Iribarne. 2000. Contrasting effects of 2 burrowing crabs (Chasmagnathus granulate and Uca uruguayensis) on sediment composition and transport in estuarine environments. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 51: 141–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chakraborty, S.K., and A. Choudhury. 1992. Population ecology of fiddler crabs (Uca spp.) of the mangrove estuarine complex of Sundarbans. Tropical Ecology 33(1): 78–88.Google Scholar
  5. Costa, T.M., S.M.J. Silva, and M.L. Negreiros-Fransozo. 2006. Reproductive pattern comparison of Uca thayeri Rathbun, 1900 and U. uruguayensis Nobili, 1901 (Crustacea, Decapoda, Ocypodidae). Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology 49: 117–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crane, J. 1975. Fiddler crabs of the world, Ocypodidae: Genus Uca. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Derivera, C.E. 2005. Long searches for male-defended breeding burrows allow female fiddler crabs, Uca crenulata, to release larvae on time. Animal Behaviour 70: 289–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Genoni, G.P. 1991. Increased burrowing by fiddler crabs Uca rapax (Smith) (Decapoda: Ocypodidae) in response to low food supply. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 147: 267–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Katz, L.C. 1980. Effects of burrowing by the fiddler crab, Uca pugnax (Smith). Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 11: 233–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kristensen, E. 2008. Mangrove crabs as ecosystem engineers; with emphasis on sediment processes. Journal of Sea Research 59: 30–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lim, S.S.L. 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: 525–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lim, S.S.L., and C.H. Diong. 2003. Burrow-morphological characters of the fiddler crab, Uca annulipes (H. Milne Edwards, 1837) and ecological correlates in a lagoonal beach on Pulau Hantu, Singapore. Crustaceana 76(9): 1055–1069.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Machado, G.B.O., J.B.L. Gusmão-Junior, and T.M. Costa. 2013. Burrow morphology of Uca uruguayensis and Uca leptodactylus (Decapoda:Ocypodidae) from a subtropical mangrove forest in the western Atlantic. Integrative Zoology 8: 307–314.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Manna, S., K. Chaudhuri, S. Bhattacharyya, and M. Bhattacharyya. 2010. Dynamics of Sundarban estuarine ecosystem: eutrophication induced threat to mangroves. Saline Systems 6: 8.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  15. Micheli, F., F. Gherardi, and M. Vannini. 1991. Feeding and burrowing ecology of two East African mangrove crabs. Marine Biology 111: 247–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Milner, R.N.C., I. Booksmythe, M.D. Jennions, and P.R.Y. Backwell. 2010. The battle of the sexes? Territory acquisition and defence in male and female fiddler crabs. Animal Behaviour 79: 735–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Montague, C.L. 1980. A natural history of temperate western Atlantic fiddler crabs (genus Uca) with reference to their impact on the salt marsh. Contribution in Marine Sciences 23: 25–55.Google Scholar
  18. Ng, P.K.L., D. Guinot, and P.J.F. Davie. 2008. Systema brachyurorum: Part I. An annotated checklist of extant brachyuran crabs of the world. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 17: 1–286.Google Scholar
  19. Penha-Lopes, G., F. Bartolini, S. Limbu, S. Cannicci, E. Kristensen, and J. Paula. 2009. Are fiddler crabs potentially useful ecosystem engineers in mangrove wastewater wetlands? Marine Pollution Bulletin 58: 1694–1703.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Powers, L.W., and J.F. Cole. 1976. Temperature variation in fiddler crab microhabitats. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 21: 141–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Qureshi, N.A., and N.U. Saher. 2012. Burrow morphology of three species of fiddler crab (Uca) along the coast of Pakistan. Belgian Journal of Zoology 142(2): 14–126.Google Scholar
  22. Ribeiro, P.D., O.O. Iribarne, and P. Daleo. 2005. The relative importance of substratum characteristics and recruitment in determining the spatial distribution of fiddler crab Uca uruguayensis Nobili. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 314: 99–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rosenberg, M.S. 2001. The systematic and taxonomy of fiddler crabs: a phylogeny of the genus Uca. Journal of Crustacean Biology 21: 839–869.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Salmon, M. 1987. On the reproductive behavior of the fiddler crab Uca thayeri, with comparisons to U. pugilator and U. vocans: Evidence for behavioral convergence. Journal of Crustacean Biology 7: 25–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sen, S., S. Mukherjee, A. Chaudhuri, and S. Homechaudhuri. 2014. Temporal changes in brachyuran crab diversity along heterogeneous habitat in a mangrove ecosystem of Indian Sundarbans. Scientia Marina 78(3): 433–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Severinghaus, L.L., and H.C. Lin. 1990. The reproductive behavior and mate choice of fiddler crab (Uca lacteal lactea) in mid-Taiwan. Behaviour 113: 292–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Thurman, C.L. 1984. Ecological notes on fiddler crabs of south Texas, with special reference to Uca subcylindrica. Journal of Crustacean Biology 4(4): 665–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wang, J.Q., X.D. Zhang, L.F. Jiang, M.D. Bertness, C.M. Fang, J.K. Chen, T. Hara, and b Li. 2010. Bioturbation of burrowing crabs promotes sediment turnover and carbon and nitrogen movements in an estuarine salt marsh. Ecosystems 13: 586–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wolfrath, B. 1992. Burrowing of the fiddler crab Uca tangeri in the Ria Formosa in Portugal and its influence on sediment structure. Marine Ecology Progress Series 85: 237–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zar, J.H. 1996. Biostatistical analysis, 4th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Zoological Society, Kolkata, India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aquatic Bioresource Research Laboratory, Department of ZoologyUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations