Dataset: Owner Advantage in the fiddler crab, Uca mjoebergi. Are owners more motivated than floaters in response to high quality territories?


Resource owners generally win contests against intruders, a phenomenon referred to as the 'Owner Advantage' (OA). Uca mjoebergi is a typical fiddler crab that is highly sociable, territorial and lives in mixed sex colonies on intertidal mudflats. Burrows are used in territory defence, for mating, and as refuge from predators and environmental stresses. Fights are common between owners and floating males who battle for ownership of the territory and burrow.

Experiments were conducted from 28th Sept - 30 Dec 2006 at the lower reaches of Ludmilla Creek within East Point Reserve, 5km North of Darwin, NT. Previous experiments have revealed that owners win more contests than floaters because they are more motivated. This experiment was designed to test if owners are more motivated than floaters in response to high quality territories.

The results revealed that owners won more contests in 'high quality' territories than in 'natural' territories but this difference was not significant. Although owners win more contests in 'High quality' territories, the lack of significance may indicate only a small asymmetry between owners and floaters. It is possible that owners and floaters have similar abilities to perceive the food availability and be similar in motivational level.

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