Post-Contest Stridulation Used Exclusively as a Victory Display in Mangrove Crabs

Authors


Abstract

Victory or triumph display is a post-contest signal, performed only by winners and not by losers. While much is unknown about its function, there is mounting evidence that victory displays are widespread among animals. However, evidence remains anecdotal in crabs. Sesarmid crabs belonging to the genera Parasesarma and Perisesarma are known to have characteristic stridulatory structures on their chelipeds. In Perisesarma eumolpe, a mangrove crab, stridulation has been anecdotally purported as a triumph display. We examined whether stridulation in P. eumolpe is a victory display and the factors affecting it by staging 17 contest trials among males and investigating the factors influencing stridulations and fight outcome in 55 fights. Using generalised linear mixed-effects models, we find that stridulations were generally performed by winners and after fights, especially when the fights were intense. In addition, stridulation was only observed in the context of a contest, never before or outside of it. Stridulation in P. eumolpe is likely a victory display, and, unlike other forms of victory display described for other species, it appears exclusively used for asserting victory.

Ancillary