You Better Shop Around, Crab

How fiddler crabs pick their mates

  • Hannah Schardt
  • Dec 01, 2005
IN THE CASE of fiddler crabs, it pays to be choosy when selecting a mate. Researcher Catherine DeRivera of Oregon's Aquatic Bioinvasions Research and Policy Institute discovered that female fiddler crabs visit as many as 100 male crabs' burrows before settling down. Female fiddler crabs that rush to pair off risk ending up in a burrow that is too large. A poorly sized burrow can lead to the crab couple's larvae being hatched and washed out to sea either too early or too late, when tidal conditions will carry them smack into the waiting mouths of predators.

Get Involved

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates