Multimodal communication in courting fiddler crabs reveals male performance capacities

Mowles, Sophie L., Jennions, Michael and Backwell, Patricia R. Y. (2017) Multimodal communication in courting fiddler crabs reveals male performance capacities. Royal Society Open Science, 4 (3). p. 161093. ISSN 2054-5703

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Courting males often perform different behavioural displays that demonstrate aspects of their quality. Male fiddler crabs, Uca sp., are well known for their repetitive claw-waving display during courtship. However, in some species, males produce an additional signal by rapidly stridulating their claw, creating a ‘drumming’ vibrational signal through the substrate as a female approaches, and even continue to drum once inside their burrow. Here, we show that the switch from waving to drumming might provide additional information to the female about the quality of a male, and the properties of his burrow (multiple message hypothesis). Across males there was, however, a strong positive relationship between aspects of their waving and drumming displays, suggesting that drumming adheres to some predictions of the redundant signal hypothesis for multimodal signalling. In field experiments, we show that recent courtship is associated with a significant reduction in male sprint speed, which is commensurate with an oxygen debt. Even so, males that wave and drum more vigorously than their counterparts have a higher sprint speed. Drumming appears to be an energetically costly multimodal display of quality that females should attend to when making their mate choice decisions.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: biotremology, courtship, fiddler crab, multimodal signal, stamina, vibrational signal
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dr Sophie Mowles
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2017 07:41
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2022 15:39

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