fiddler crab

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fiddler crab,

common name for small, amphibious crabscrab,
crustacean with an enlarged cephalothorax covered by a broad, flat shell called the carapace. Extending from the cephalothorax are the various appendages: five pairs of legs, the first pair bearing claws (or pincers), are attached at the sides; two eyes on short, movable
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 belonging to the genus Uca. They are characterized by a rectangular carapace (shell) and a narrow abdomen, which is flexed under the body. They are called fiddler crabs because the males have one enormous claw, held in front of the body like a fiddle. This claw often contrasts in color with the rest of the body, and is used by the male at certain times of the year to attract females in a complicated courtship display procedure, characteristically different in each species of Uca. The claw also functions to warn off intruders and to establish territories. The female Uca has two small claws on the first appendages. Some species of fiddler crabs live on sandy beaches that are somewhat protected from extreme wave action. Others live in muddy marshes and estuaries. The Uca species living on sandy beaches, such as the common Atlantic fiddler, U. pugilator, make burrows about 1 ft (30 cm) deep, just below the high tide line. The sand is carried to the surface by specialized legs of the crab, and pushed away from the entrance. Fiddler crabs are poor swimmers and rarely enter the water during their adult lives. During the spring and summer, the fiddlers remain in their burrows only during high tide periods. The entrances of the burrows are covered with sand, and the burrows contain a bubble of air, which the crabs use for respiration. When the tide ebbs, the fiddlers emerge and scurry about, collecting food in the drift lines left by the ebbing water. Both claws of the female and the smaller claw of the male are used to scoop up sand and pass the grains to the mouthparts. Certain specialized appendages (the first and second maxillipeds) have spoon-shaped setae, used to scour organic matter from the sand grains and pass it to the mouth. The sand grains are then rejected in the form of small sand balls. After mating, the female fiddler crab carries the fertilized eggs under her flexed abdomen. Certain cyclic changes occur in Uca (as well as in some other crustaceans), such as changes in pigmentation. During the day the crabs are dark; at night they are pale. Fiddler crabs are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, subphylum Crustacea, order Decapoda.
References in periodicals archive ?
London, Sept 6 (ANI): Ever wondered why fiddler crabs have such a ridiculously large claw?
Among fiddler crabs, fights break out over deep burrows excavated in the sand, where crabs hide when tides bring predatory fish and where male crabs display their digging prowess and romance potential mates.
Fiddler crabs - Fiddler crabs live on land, burrowing in mud or sand or among mangrove tree roots.
2005) and coincides with spawning in several native crab species, including the fiddler crab Uca pugnax (Dittel & Epifanio 1982).
Male fiddler crabs have a large specialised claw that they use to fight and wave around to attract mates.
Similar moxie shows up in a study of an Afro-Asian species of fiddler crab known to take a short cut to regrowing a lost claw.
Working with fiddler crabs, University of Oklahoma zoologists Penny Hopkins and David Durica are trying to determine how, when a crustacean loses one of its appendages, it can grow a new one that is fully functioning and identical to the lost limb.
These washouts, dugouts or troughs, as they are alternately referred to, gather the tiny baits like mollusks, shrimp and fiddler crabs that aren't strong enough to swim out of the current.
Other aquatic critters in Lidster's "showroom" range from common fiddler crabs ($2 apiece) to an octopus no larger than the palm of your hand, "on sale" for $70.
I jerked my finger out of the fiddler crabs burrow in the black mud.
Of all the single diets, fiddler-crab tissue provided the best growth, probably because of its high nitrogen content; however, it is unlikely that Armases can successfully capture and subdue fiddler crabs on a regular basis in the field.
Regardless of differences in their respective transport agents, the settlement of megalopae of blue crabs and fiddler crabs occurs as discrete temporal pulses.