There are rules in fiddler crab fight club | Science News


Science News is a nonprofit.

Support us by subscribing now.


There are rules in fiddler crab fight club

When conditions are right, territorial crustaceans will go to bat for their rivals

4:54pm, March 19, 2010

Fiddler crabs will do battle to help a punier rival, a report in the May American Naturalist concludes. But it isn’t out of kindness.

Ecologists already knew that male fiddler crabs will sometimes take on an attacker who is trying to invade a neighbor’s territory. By setting up a series of bouts between crabs of the species Uca annulipes on a beach in Mozambique, Australian researchers have found that the crustaceans defend only smaller neighbors. And they do so only when an intruder is intermediate in size between their neighbor and themselves.

Size has a lot to do with which crab is going to win a fight. So the rules of crab engagement sugge

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now.
Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content