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|Título:||Human exploitation of male fiddler crab claws: Behavioural consequences and implications for conservation|
|Autor:||Oliveira, Rui Filipe|
Machado, José Luis Gorjão H. C.
Burford, Fiona R. L.
McGregor, Peter K.
|Citação:||Animal Conservation, 3, 1-5|
|Resumo:||Male fiddler crabs have one of their feeding claws greatly enlarged, which may comprise up to 40% of their weight. In southern Portugal (Ria Formosa) the major claw of the fiddler crab Uca tangeri is a local delicacy. Fishermen break off the male major claw and throw the crab back into the mudflat to regenerate a new one. Approximately 38 % of the males sampled had a missing or a regenerating claw. Although individuals are not removed from the population the operational sex ratio is biased towards females since other males and females behave towards clawless males as if they were females. Moreover, removing the major claw from males prevents them from signalling (waving display) to females to attract them to their breeding burrows and it also places them at a disadvantage if they have to defend their burrows from males with intact claws. Thus, the harvesting of male fiddler crab claws has potential consequences at the population level. In this paper we investigated these potential consequences by comparing an exploited population of fiddler crabs at Ria Formosa with a remote population at the Mira estuary that is not under human exploitation. The unexploited population has significantly larger males and a significantly higher density of burrows. The operational sex ratio is also significantly different between the two populations with a female-biased sex ratio in the exploited population. These preliminary results suggest that claw harvesting in fiddler crabs has a measurable effect at the population level. The consequences of this type of fishery in which the individuals are not removed from the population but the population structure is potentially affected need further investigation.|
|Aparece nas colecções:||UIE-E - Artigos em revistas nacionais|