Title

Claw allometry in green crabs, Carcinus maenas: heterochely, handedness, and sex

Publication Date

2008

Journal or Book Title

MARINE BIOLOGY

Abstract

Claw loss and reversal of handedness during regeneration are common phenomena in heterochelous decapod crustaceans, which typically have one large ‘crusher’ claw on the right side and a smaller ‘cutter’ claw on the left. Little is known about the relative importance of claw growth vs. body growth during claw regeneration. Here the relationship between claw size and body size of green crabs, Carcinus maenas, was examined to test for differences in claw allometry as a function of handedness and sex, as there are differences in how males and females use their claws. A total of 730 crabs (range = 15.7–83.6 mm CW) were collected from Maine to New Jersey, USA from May to October 1997, 2000, and 2004–2005. Claw growth, particularly crushers, was accelerated in left-handed crabs and in males compared to right-handed crabs and females respectively. These differing growth strategies highlight the role of sexual dimorphism in claw usage and the importance of achieving heterochely after claw injury. These results imply that handedness should be an important factor to consider in future studies of crab morphology, behavior, and morphometrics.

DOI

10.1007/s00227-007-0826-6

Volume

153

Issue

4

Pages

523-528

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