Monday, 12 September 2011
New research from the 13th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology has been looking into mating processes used by crabs. Researchers created large robotic crab claws and set about waving them at nearby females, concentrating on the fiddler crab Uca mjoebergi. It was noted that female would eventually be drawn to the 'erotic' dancing. Male crabs will stand outside their burrows circling their claws to attract the ladies. If a female is interested, she will move closer, then hop down into the males burrows for some private time.
The species has a bright yellow claw to make it more attractive and stand out. However, not only are crab claws used to mating but also for fighting and protection. In fact, it has been noted that some larger crabs will actually go to the defence of their smaller male counterparts if an intruder is trying to 'pinch' their burrow. This is strange behaviour in a world of competition, but this new study hopes to discover the real reason behind it. The scientists believe that there is a possibility the larger males protect the smaller as it may help their mating success having lesser-sized males about.