Data from: Thermoregulation as an alternate function of the sexually dimorphic fiddler crab claw
Darnell, Michael Zachary; Munguia, Pablo (2011), Data from: Thermoregulation as an alternate function of the sexually dimorphic fiddler crab claw, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hv248
Fiddler crabs are highly sexually-dimorphic. Males possess one small (minor) feeding claw and one greatly enlarged (major) claw; females possess two small claws. The major claw is used to attract mates and for burrow defense but is costly for the male to possess. We tested the hypothesis that the major claw also functions as a thermoregulatory structure, a function that would allow males to spend a greater amount of time on the surface, foraging and attracting potential mates. Fiddler crabs, Uca panacea, were exposed to a source of radiant heat and body temperatures were monitored. Four groups of crabs were tested: intact males, males with the minor claw removed, males with the major claw removed, and females. Males without the major claw increased in body temperature more rapidly and reached higher temperatures than males with the major claw intact, but were similar to females. These results support the hypothesized thermoregulatory function of the major claw. The major claw may function as a heat sink, transferring heat away from the body and dissipating it into the air. Enhanced thermoregulatory ability provided by the major claw may partially ameliorate the energetic costs of possessing such a large claw.
Gulf of Mexico