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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS - Vol. 459 - Feature article
Fiddler crabs may maintain larval release during large amplitude nocturnal tides despite temperature variation by shifting timing of mating or selecting incubation temperature. Illustration: Javier Luque

Kerr KA, Christy JH, Collin R, Guichard F


Reducing error in reproductive timing caused by temperature variation: interspecific differences in behavioural adjustment by fiddler crabs


Many marine species release larvae during large amplitude nocturnal tides. However, the rate with which embryos develop varies with temperature and may cause errors in timing if adjustments are not made. While two fiddler crab species usually released larvae during the most favorable tides, both species also made errors. Uca terpsichores timed release poorly when the temperature changed after females began incubation. In contrast, Uca deichmanni maintained timing of release despite temperature variation during incubation but released late when temperature was at its lowest. These results suggest the species use different methods to reduce errors in timing caused by temperature variation. Potential methods of behavioural adjustment to temperature changes are discussed.


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