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Short-range homing in fiddler crabs (Ocypodidae, genus Uca): A homing mechanism not based on local visual landmarks
Cannicci, S.; Fratini, S.; Vannini, M. (1999). Short-range homing in fiddler crabs (Ocypodidae, genus Uca): A homing mechanism not based on local visual landmarks. Ethology 105(10): 867-880. dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0310.1999.00453.x
In: Ethology. Wiley-Blackwell: Berlin. ISSN 0179-1613, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Homing behaviour; Ocypodidae Rafinesque, 1815 [WoRMS]; Uca (Australuca) Crane, 1975 [WoRMS]; Uca (Gelasimus) vocans (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Cannicci, S., more
  • Fratini, S.
  • Vannini, M., more

Abstract
    This field study investigated the spatial strategies and homing ability of two East African fiddler crabs, Uca lactea annulipes and Uca vocans hesperiae, using various experimental procedures. A clear-cut spatial segregation between the two species was observed, with U. l. annulipes occupying areas even a few centimetres above U. v. hesperiae. Females of both species were extremely faithful to their holes while the males exhibited behavioural differences. U. l. annulipes males were quite faithful to their holes; in contrast, U. v. hesperiae males, during a single low tide, visited several holes which they did not defend. Two displacement experiments were conducted in order to identify the stimuli that fiddler crabs use in their homing. In the 'dislocation experiment', the crabs were moved (by hand) 1 or 2m away from their refuge and released. None of these crabs returned to its burrow and, moreover, the initial directions they followed were not homeward orientated. In the 'translation experiment', the crabs were passively translated while actively feeding. When the crabs attempted to go 'home' after the translation, they darted along a straight path that led them to points that would have corresponded to their homes if the translation had not taken place. After this first response crabs then commenced searching strategies that led half of them home. Short-range homing seems to depend strongly on information actively gathered during the outward journey, other than local visual landmarks.

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