Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Journal of Animal Behaviour and Biometeorology
Research Article Open Access

Human disturbance affects behavioural time allocation in a fiddler crab (Austruca annulipes) in Southern Thailand

Anantanit Chumsri, Fahmida Wazed Tina, Areerat Vongkok, Malinee Chinnanon, Nipaporn Chuaytanee, Amornrat Angajchariya, Chutinut Sujarit

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Human disturbances affect the macroinvertebrate populations in coastal regions. They respond to disturbances by altering their density and behaviour. Therefore, many of them are used as bioindicator species of human disturbance. Here, we pioneer the use of fiddler crabs to examine whether they alter their behaviour under human disturbance. Male fiddler crabs possess one large claw used for courting (waving) and fighting, and one small feeding claw, whereas females have two feeding claws. They show several surface activities. This study investigates (1) the effects of human disturbance on density and sex-ratio, and (2) the effects of human disturbance, and sex on behavioural time allocations in Austruca annulipes. Their density, sex-ratio, and time allocations were investigated in human-disturbed area (DA) and nondisturbed area (NDA). They showed feeding, feeding and walking, walking, running, standing/vigilance, inside burrows, burrowing, grooming, fighting, and waving. The results showed that crab density was higher and the sex ratio was more male biased in NDA than in DA. Human disturbance and sex affected time allocations but their interaction had no effect. Crabs in DA spent more time running, standing, and inside burrows but less time walking, burrowing, fighting, and waving than crabs in NDA. Between sexes, males spent more time standing, burrowing, grooming, and fighting but less time feeding, and walking than females. This indicates that human disturbances force the crabs to spend more time on anti-predator and escape behavior (standing/vigilance, running, inside burrows) rather than courting (waving) and constructing burrows (mating/breeding sites), which are important for breeding.


Fiddler crabs, human-induced disturbance, coastal region, time budget, animal behaviour


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