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Data from: Predator discrimination in the hermit crab Calcinus californiensis: tight for shell breakers, loose for shell peelers

Citation

Alcaraz, Guillermina; Arce, Elsah (2017), Data from: Predator discrimination in the hermit crab Calcinus californiensis: tight for shell breakers, loose for shell peelers, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.j078t

Abstract

Prey exposed to predators with different hunting and feeding modes are under different selective pressures, therefore it is expected that they should exhibit plastic and adaptive antipredator responses according to current risks. The hermit crab Calcinus californiensis faces two contrasting predators, the shell peeler Arenaeus mexicanus that hunts by active searching and the shell breaker Eriphia squamata that hunts by ambush. In order to discover whether C. californiensis displays plastic responses depending on the type of predatory challenge, we examined the shell size preference, the hiding time, and the escape velocity of hermit crabs in the presence of chemical cues from a shell peeler, a shell breaker, and a control. We also examined the role of shell fit on the escape velocity of the hermit crabs in natural tidal pools. Crabs chose shells with a loose fit (relatively large shells) in the presence of chemical cues from the shell peeler Arenaeus and shells with a tight fit when exposed to cues from the shell breaker Eriphia. The hermit crabs hid for shorter times and moved away faster from Eriphia than from Arenaeus stimulus. The use of a tight shell favours faster movement away from the shell breaker (pre-capture strategy), but prevents the crab retracting deeper inside the shell, increasing the risk of be eaten by the shell peeler once captured. Hence, the use of loose shells that protect the crab from the shell peeler hinders fast escape. This study shows specific and plastic antipredatory responses to contrasting predators, each bringing adaptive benefits at different levels of the predator sequence.

Usage Notes

Location

Troncones Guerrero