*The first published results of the Expedition appeared in the Report on the Zoological Society's Expedition to the Zambesi, 1927, Proc. Zool. Soo, 1928, pt. iv. p. 923.
The Zoological Society's Expedition to the Zambesi, 1927: No. 2. Observations on the Natural History of the Land-Crab Sesarma meinerti, from Beira, with special reference to the Theory of Warning Colours.*
Article first published online: 20 AUG 2009
Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London
Volume 99, Issue 4, pages 679–692, February 1929
How to Cite
COTT, H. B. (1929), The Zoological Society's Expedition to the Zambesi, 1927: No. 2. Observations on the Natural History of the Land-Crab Sesarma meinerti, from Beira, with special reference to the Theory of Warning Colours.. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 99: 679–692. doi: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.1929.tb01451.x
- Issue published online: 29 OCT 2009
- Article first published online: 20 AUG 2009
- Received September 17, 1929
- 1The crabs belonging to the genus Sesarma show a wide range of variation in habits and in the conditions under which they live. S. meinerti is a species that has largely adopted terrestrial habits. A colony of the crabs was found at Beira, living on dry ground near mangrove-swamps. The habits of the species are described.
- 2An attempt has been made to show that the colour of S. meinerti has an aposematic function. The vivid colour of the crab, its aggressive behaviour and power of self-defence, its tough physique and well-developed power of regeneration, and the relative freedom from the persecution of enemies in which it lives, all point to this conclusion.
- 3The boldness of the species and its ability to defend itself from attack have been adopted in response to the requirements of a more or less terrestrial mode of life, and the aposematic coloration is correlated with the exigencies of this habitat; conspicuousness being useful to the ciabs. the origin and development of the warning colours are to be explained by the operation of natural selection.