Females prefer burrows
The signal is an arched wall of sand called a hood which courting males of the fiddler crab Uca musica build at the entrances to their burrows on sand flats in Panama. Males have one very large claw that they wave to attract females to their burrows and females visit several males before choosing a mate by staying with a male in his burrow. These small crabs are at great risk of predation from ever-present shore birds. When moving between burrows they reduce this risk in part by running to objects that provide cover.
Christy, from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, Julia Baum, an undergraduate at McGill University, and STRI researcher Pat Backwell thought that hoods might attract females because they look like objects that provide temporary hiding places. As reported recently in the journal Animal Behaviour (66: 89-94) they found ample support for this idea. They showed that female fiddler crabs, including species that do and do not build structures, are equally attracted to hoods and other objects to escape predation. They then replaced males hoods with stones, shells, pieces of wood and hood replicas and tested their attractiveness to females. Females found all males to be equally attractive regardless of what kind of object was at their burrow. The researchers conclude that some male courtship signals may be designed to keep females safe as they search for a mate, not to advertise the quality of the signaler and more generally, that a species ecology can favor responses that in turn become incorporated into courtship.
John Christy | EurekAlert!
More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy