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Shell preference in a hermit crab: comparison between a matrix of paired comparisons and a multiple-alternative experiment
Arce, E.; Alcaraz, G. (2012). Shell preference in a hermit crab: comparison between a matrix of paired comparisons and a multiple-alternative experiment. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 159(4): 853-862. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-011-1861-x
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Arce, E.
  • Alcaraz, G.

Abstract
    The preference of the hermit crab, Calcinus californiensis, among six species of shells, was tested by two different experiments. The first experiment used pair-wise trials, analyzing the preference by Chi-square tests using two different constructions of the null hypothesis. One hypothesis was based on a no-preference among shell species, the second on comparing the number of crabs changing for a particular shell species when two options were given versus the changing when no options were offered. The second experiment was a multiple-alternative test based on a rank ordering of the shell preference. This method has both statistical and resource-saving advantages over the traditional pair-wise comparisons. The sequence of shell preference was similarly independent of the procedure used. The preferred shell species are heavy and might be associated with hydrodynamic advantages and with the protection against predation. The shell preference matches with the pattern of shell occupancy indicating that the shell use in nature is determined by the crab’s preference. The information generated may be used for further research on shell preference as a methodological alternative.

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