Pigment Dispersion by Light in the Melanophores of the Fiddler Crab

  • Thomas P. Coohill
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 7)


Adaptive color changes in animals have been the subject of a large number of investigations. One genus that has been extensively studied is the fiddler crab, Uca (Fingerman, 1968). The effects of light, temperature, and hormones on the chromatophores of this animal have been successfully described and analyzed. However, incident radiation can elicit chromatophore responses in Uca in two ways (Brown and Sandeen, 1948). One is the direct action of light on the chromatophores (primary response). The other effect (secondary response) is an indirect one caused by light entering the eyes of the animal and ultimately resulting in secretion of neurohormones that affect the crab’s chromatophores. Background responses of Uca are typical secondary responses (Brown and Hines 1952).


Primary Response Secondary Response Fiddler Crab Pigment Dispersion Background Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Brown, F. A. and M. I. Sandeen. 1948. Responses of the chromatophores of the fiddler crab, Uca, to light and temperatures. Physiol. Zool. 21: 361–371.Google Scholar
  2. Brown, F. A. and M. N. Hines. 1952. Modifications in the diurnal pigmentary rhythm of Uca affected by continuous illumination. Physiol. Zool. 25: 56–70.Google Scholar
  3. Coohill, T.P., C. K. Bartell and M. Fingerman. 1970. Relative effectiveness of UV and visible light in eliciting pigment dispersion directly in melanophores of the fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. Physiol. Zool. 43: 232–239.Google Scholar
  4. Coohill, T. F. and M. Fingerman. 1975. Relative effec- tiveness of UV and visible light in eliciting pigment dispersion in melanophores of the fiddler crab, Uca pugilator, through the secondary response. Physiol. Zool. 48:57–63.Google Scholar
  5. Coohill, T. P. and M. Fingerman. 1976. Comparison of the effects of illumination on the melanophores of intact and eyestalkless fiddler crabs, Uca pugilator, and inhibition of the primary response of cytochalasin B. Experientia 15: 569–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Fingerman, M. 1968. Crustacean color changes with emphasis on the fiddler crab. Scientia 53 Google Scholar
  7. Koller, L.R. 1965. Ultraviolet Radiation. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Van der Lek, B. 1967. Photosensitive melanophores. Bronder-Offset, Rotterdam.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas P. Coohill
    • 1
  1. 1.Biophysics ProgramWestern Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA

Personalised recommendations