Nom du corpus

Corpus Systématique Animale

Titre du document

Pillar building in the fiddler crab Uca beebei : evidence for a condition-dependent ornament

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Springer (journals)
Langue(s) du document
Type de document
Mots-clés d'auteur
  • Fiddler crabs
  • Condition dependence Sexual selection
  • Handicap principle
  • Sensory exploitation
Nom du fichier dans la ressource
  • Patricia R.Y. Backwell 1
  • Michael D. Jennions 2
  • John H. Christy 1
  • Ursula Schober 1
  • 1) Department of Zoology, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, WITS 2050, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 2) Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, OX1 3PS, Oxford, UK

In the fiddler crab (Uca beebei) males build a small mud pillar next to their burrow which increases their attractiveness to females. Three hypotheses were tested to explain inter-male variation in pillar-building. (1) The benefits of pillar-building are density dependent. The experimental addition of vertical structures did not support this hypothesis as there was no change in the level of pillar-building. (2) There are two classes of males (pillar-builders and non-pillar-builders). This could either be due to an alternative mating strategy, or because pillar building is age or size-dependent. There was also no support for this hypothesis. (3) Pillar-building is an honest signal of male quality dependent on body condition. A food supplementation experiment was performed. Addition of food affected several aspects of male behaviour and resulted in a two fold increase in the number of pillars built between control and food treatments (P < 0.001). However, the percentage of males building pillars did not increase significantly. Pillar building in this species has been attributed to sensory exploitation. Our results indicate that a trait which may well have evolved through sensory exploitation also appears to be condition-dependent. We emphasise that showing that an ornament or behaviour is condition-dependent does not necessarily mean that it evolved through “good gene” processes. However, in terms of its current selective value, pillar building may be maintained through female choice because it acts as a signal of male condition.

Catégories Science-Metrix
  • 1 - health sciences
  • 2 - psychology & cognitive sciences
  • 3 - behavioral science & comparative psychology
Catégories INIST
  • 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
  • 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
  • 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
Catégories Scopus
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Animal Science and Zoology
  • 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Catégories WoS
  • 1 - science ; 2 - zoology
  • 1 - science ; 2 - ecology
  • 1 - science ; 2 - behavioral sciences
Identifiant ISTEX

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

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Score qualité du texte
  • Arthropodes
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