E&E PhD Exit Seminar: Synchronous courtship in fiddler crabs


Animal synchrony has long fascinated researchers due to the exquisite coordination of individuals functioning without a leader. Synchronization is found in phylogenetically distant animal groups, indicating behavioural adaptations to varying selective pressures and signaling modes. A notable example of synchronous display is found in some fiddler crab species: males wave their single enlarged claw in close synchrony during courtship. The adaptive significance of this phenomenon appears to involve a female preference for leading waving displays; however, waving is a highly complex social signal that might be involved in a variety of other forms of communication. In addition, fiddler crabs present stereotypic species-specific signals and synchronous waving is only observed in some species. We conducted field experiments to quantify the structural and temporal information of the wave displays of multiple species to identify how social context and the level of signal elaboration effect the emergence of synchronous waving. The present study facilitates a deeper understanding of how synchronous displays may emerge due to singularities of species ecological adaptations.

Date & time

4–5pm 1 September 2017


Gould Seminar Room (Rm 235), Bldg 116, Gould Building, Daley Road, ANU


Daniela Perez, Backwell Group, RSB


 Audra Johnstone
 6125 2866

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