Morphometric correlations between dietary and reproductive traits of two brachyuran crabs, Hemigrapsus sanguineus and Aratus pisonii
Griffen, Blaine (2022), Morphometric correlations between dietary and reproductive traits of two brachyuran crabs, Hemigrapsus sanguineus and Aratus pisonii, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8cz8w9gtw
Many animals have flexible morphological traits that allow them to succeed in differing circumstances with differing diets available to them. For brachyuran crabs, claw height and gut size are diet-specific and largely reflect foraging strategies, while abdomen width reflects relative levels of fecundity. However, the link between claw size and diet has largely been documented only for primarily carnivorous crabs, while the link between diet and fecundity is strong in herbivorous crabs. We sought to determine the nature of the intraspecific relationship between claw size, dietary habits, and fecundity for two primarily herbivorous crab species, Hemigrapsus sanguineus and Aratus pisonii. Specifically, we examined whether claw size and/or abdomen width can be used as reliable measures of individual diet strategy. To test these hypotheses, we collected crabs and measured the dimensions of their claws, abdomens, and guts. By comparing these dimensions for each individual, we found that strongly predictive relationships do not exist between these traits for the primarily herbivorous species in our study. Thus, identifying external morphological features that can be used to assess diets of primarily herbivorous crabs remains elusive.
Data were obtained through measuring crabs that had been sampled and processed for other studies, and whose bodies were then stored in the lab. All data collection and processing is described in the manuscript.