Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Robust Fiddler Crab's Secret

Everybody has to do something special to survive.  The robust fiddler crab (Uca dussumieri) is the largest of the Australian fiddler crabs and is heavily built so needs a lot of food.  To ensure that it gets enough, it bundles up packets of mud and takes them back to its burrow.  All around the other species of fiddler crab are busy packing mud into their mouths one tiny handful at a time, which is well and good, but after two hours all the good mud has been consumed.  This maybe where the mud ball strategy works out. I have no idea what Uca dussumieri does with the mud balls it collects and they may collect half a dozen in about ten minutes.  It's strategy is unique amongst the fiddler crabs of the Australian tropics as far as I know.

Uca dussumieri
A young Uca dussumieri eating a few quick mouthfuls before getting to work.

Uca dussumieri fiddler crab making a mud ball
Uca dussumieri scraping up a mud ball

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