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Uca pugnax

Uca pugnax is a species of fiddler crab that lives on north-western shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Distribution[edit]

Uca pugnax is the most common species of fiddler crab on the east coast of the United States. Its natural range extends from Cape Cod to northern Florida.[2] In 2014, its northern limit was extended to Hampton, New Hampshire, as a result of a range expansion due to climate change.[3]

Description[edit]

There is noticeable sexual dimorphism in Uca pugnax. Although both males and females are olive-brown in color, males have a carapace width of 15–23 mm (0.59–0.91 in), and a patch of royal blue on the carapace, while females lack the blue patch and are only 13–18 mm (0.51–0.71 in) across the carapace.[2] In both sexes, the pereiopods (walking legs) have dark bands, and the eyestalks are narrow.[2] The most conspicuous difference is the form of the chelipeds (claw-bearing legs); in females, they are similar, while in males, one is greatly enlarged and colored yellow.[2]

Life cycle[edit]

The males use circular movements of their large cheliped to attract a mate. Mating occurs up to every two weeks, typically 4–5 days after the spring tides, over a period lasting from June to September.[2] It takes place in a burrow, after which the female will brood her eggs for 12–15 days, before releasing the hatchling larvae on the high spring tides.[2] The larvae pass through five planktonic zoea and one megalopa stages, before settling to the sea floor to molt into the adult form.[2] This process takes around 28 days. After one year, the crab reaches sexual maturity, and adult life span is typically 12–18 months.[2]

Taxonomic history[edit]

Uca pugnax was first described by Sidney Irving Smith in 1870, as "Gelasimus pugnax". Its common names include "marsh fiddler crab",[2] "mud fiddler crab",[2] "Atlantic mud fiddler crab"[4] and "Atlantic marsh fiddler crab".[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sammy De Grave, N. Dean Pentcheff, Shane T. Ahyong et al. (2009). "A classification of living and fossil genera of decapod crustaceans" (PDF). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. Suppl. 21: 1–109. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lauren L. Bergey (2007). Behavioral ecology and population biology in populations of fiddler crabs, Uca pugnax (Smith), on the New Jersey coast (Ph.D. thesis). Newark, New Jersey: Rutgers University. ISBN 978-0-549-37814-3. 
  3. ^ Johnson, David (2014). "Fiddler on the Roof: A northern range extension for the marsh fiddler crab Uca pugnax". Journal of Crustacean Biology 34 (5): 671–673. 
  4. ^ a b M. S. Rosenberg (May 17, 2007). "Uca pugnax". Fiddler Crabs (Genus Uca). Retrieved September 17, 2012. 

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