Shell fighting and competition between two hermit crab species in Panama


This article is a study of shell fighting between two intertidal hermit crab species in Panama. Laboratory results showed some cases of high exchange frequencies between Calcinus obscurus and Clibanarius albidigitus when the former occupied poor-quality shells. Exchange frequencies varied considerably between collecting sites, and were always low when the defending Clibanarius came from Venado Beach. Shell exchange frequencies estimated from field experiments were similar to those obtained in the laboratory. Observations on relative shell sizes occupied by both species in areas of sympatry and allopatry failed to provide clear evidence that Calcinus reduced the shell size of Clibanarius or that Clibanarius increased the shell size occupied by Calcinus. Results obtained here differ from those obtained in previous studies (Abrams 1980; Bertness 1981a, b), and these differences are discussed. Although shell fighting may be an important component of the interaction of these species, it is likely that roughly 90% of the competition experienced by each species is intraspecific.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00344657

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@article{Abrams1981ShellFA, title={Shell fighting and competition between two hermit crab species in Panama}, author={Peter A . Abrams}, journal={Oecologia}, year={1981}, volume={51}, pages={84-90} }