Male sand-bubbler crabs Scopimera globosa perform a waving display during their reproductive season, but waving is not used when a male is paired with a female. A male grasps and brings a female into his burrow for mating. We conducted this study to clarify the function of the waving display of S. globosa. The frequency of waving was correlated with male size, and males that paired successfully underground waved significantly more often and were significantly larger than their neighbors. Females that were released in front of waving males either approached or fled from the waving male or they made no response. All the females that approached waving males completed underground pairing without resisting capture by the male, but most females that fled or did not respond resisted capture. Females that approached waving males had more developed ovaries compared to females that fled. These results suggest that waving in S. globosa functions as part of courtship behavior and that waving males detect females with ripe gonads according to how the female responds to the displaying male.
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Vol. 25 • No. 4