Behavior of Four Species of Fiddler Crabs, GenusUca, in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia

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We studied the behaviors of four species of sympatric fiddler crabs on Kaledupa Island, Indonesia. Species differences in activity level, grooming, burrowing and feeding were related to their habitat and food. Uca chlorophthalmus, living in muddy mangrove areas, were inactive and spent most of the time feeding in place. Females fed 50% faster than males and spent more time feeding. U. vocans was the dominant species at the beach in silty sand and was very active. Its feeding rate was about twice that of the former species, females fed more rapidly than males, and many crabs of both sexes fed in droves at the water's edge during ebb tides. During ebb tides, they spent most of their time feeding, while at flood tide they engaged in a greater variety of activities, including burrow maintenance. They frequently walked while feeding and interacted aggressively. U. tetragonon lived in a pebbly band along one edge of the beach, by a quay. Their feeding rate was comparable in both sexes and slower than that of U. vocans; they fed largely on filamentous algae growing on the quay, which provides better food, and fed faster during flood tide than ebb tide. They spent more time in waving and other sex-related activities, and were seldom aggressive, except during the week of the full moon. Burrowing activities included placing excavated mud balls some distance away from their burrows and re-arranging them. U. dussumieri inhabited the other end of the beach in muddier substrate. They did not have sex differences in feeding rates and their rate of scooping food into their mouths was slow, but feeding claws made multiple pinches of the substrate, thus accumulating more material in each clawful of food.

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