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Free Content Shell Fighting and Sexual Behavior in the Hermit Crab Genera Paguristes and Calcinus, with Comments on Pagurus

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The behavioral patterns executed by hermit crabs during shell fights and during sexual behavior are described for eight species in the genus Calcinus and ten species in the genus Paguristes. The shell fighting patterns of eight species of Pagurus are also described. The variability in Pagurusis compared with the consistency seen in Calcinus and Paguristes.

Shell fighting patterns are extremely uniform within the genera Calcinus and Paguristes. Rapping movements always involve bringing the attacker's shell rapidly against the defender's. In Calcinus there is no pause at thetop of the rap cycle, while in Paguristes there is a pause. In the genus Pagurus, some species execute “diogenid” rapping, and others execute “spasmodic shaking,” a short, rapid shaking of the defending crab by the attacker.

Precopulatory behavior by the male of Calcinus involves mainly rotation of the female and some cheliped tapping. In Paguristes, cheliped tapping predominates, interspersed with rotation of the female.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 1972

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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