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Sex-specific mediation of foraging in the shore crab, Carcinus maenas

Hayden, Dominic, Jennings, Alice, Muller, Carsten, Pascoe, David, Bublitz, Ralf, Webb, Heather, Breithaupt, Thomas, Watkins, Lloyd and Hardege, Jörg 2007. Sex-specific mediation of foraging in the shore crab, Carcinus maenas. Hormones and Behavior 52 (2) , pp. 162-168. 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2007.03.004

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Abstract

Experiments were conducted to investigate the sex-specific differences to feeding responses of the shore crab Carcinus maenasthroughout the year. Results demonstrate that female shore crabs exhibit stronger feeding responses than males throughout the year with a significantly reduced feeding response in males during the summer months' reproductive season. We also studied the possible function(s) of the moulting hormone, 20-hydroxyecdysone (Crustecdysone) that has been described as a potential female-produced sex pheromone to initiate male reproductive behaviour in a number of crustaceans. We recently presented evidence that for shore crabs this is not the case and now show that the steroid is instead functioning as a sex-specific feeding deterrent protecting the moulting ‘soft’ female crabs. Whilst male shore crabs were deterred from prey (Mytilus edulis) and synthetic feeding stimulants glycine and taurine when these feeding stimulants were spiked with crustecdysone, intermoult female crabs were significantly less affected and rarely deterred from feeding. This sex specificity of the moulting hormone, in combination with the female sex pheromone, which has no anti-feeding properties, ensures that male crabs mate with soft-shelled, moulted females rather than engage in cannibalism, such as found frequently in cases when soft-shelled females are exposed to intermoult females.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Carcinus maenas; Pheromone; Crustecdysone; 20-Hydroxyecdysone; Feeding.
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0018-506x
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:37
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/62889

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