Predation of the fiddler crab, Minuca osa (Brachyura: Ocypodidae), by Eudocimus albus (Pelecaniformes: Threskiornithidae) from Ponuga, Veraguas, Panama




White Ibis, Uca, mangrove, chela, camera trap


Numerous avian species prey on fiddler crabs, yet the ecological relationships involving Minuca osa crabs and their predators remain poorly understood. We report the first documented cases of M. osa predation by White Ibis, Eudocimus albus. Three distinct predation events were observed: June 3rd, 2021, November 10th, 2022, and November 25th, 2022, in the Gulf of Montijo, Veraguas, Panama. Examination of E. albus feces provided confirmation of such predator-prey interaction.

Author Biography

Roberto C. Lombardo-González, Universidad de Panamá

Centro Regional Universitario de Veraguas.

Centro de Capacitación, Investigación y Monitoreo de la Biodiversidad en el Parque Nacional Coiba


Angehr, G. R. & Dean, R. (2010). The birds of Panama: a field guide (1st ed.). U.S.A A Zona Tropical Publication, Comstock Publishing Associates, Cornell University Press.

Backwell, P. R. Y., O’Hara, P. D. & Christy, J. H. (1998). Prey availability and selective foraging in shorebirds. Anim. Behav., 55(6), 1659-1667.

Bildstein, K. L., McDowell, S. G. & Brisbin, I. L. (1989). Consequences of sexual dimorphism in sand fiddler crabs, Uca pugilator: differential vulnerability to avian predation. Anim. Behav., 37(1), 140-152.

Christy, J. H. (1982). Burrow structure and use in the sand fiddler crab, Uca pugilator (Bosc). Anim. Behav., 30(3), 687-694.

Christy, J. H. (1983). Female choice in the resource-defense mating system of the sand fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 12(2), 169-180.

Christy, J. H. (2007). Predation and the reproductive behavior of fiddler crabs (Genus Uca). In E. J. Duffy & M. Thiel (Eds.), Evolutionary ecology of social and sexual systems: Crustaceans as model organisms (pp. 211-231). U.S.A.: Oxford University Press.

Crane, J. (1941). Eastern Pacific expeditions of the New York Zoological Society. XXVI. Crabs of the genus Uca from the west coast of Central America. Zool. Sci. Contrib. N.Y. Zool. Soc., 26, 145-208.

Crane, J. (1975). Fiddler crabs of the world: Ocypididae: Genus UCA (1st ed.). U.S.A.: Princeton University Press.

da Silva, B., Miyai, C. A., Augusto, A., & Costa, T. M. (2020). Effects of temperature increase on the physiology and behavior of fiddler crabs. Physiol. Behav., 215, 112765.

Dennenmoser, S. & Christy, J. H. (2013). The design of a beautiful weapon: Compensation for opposing sexual selection on a trait with two functions. Evolution (N. Y)., 67(4), 1181-1188.

Ens, B. J., Klaassen, M. & Zwarts, L. (1993). Flocking and feeding in the fiddler crab (Uca tangeri): Prey availability as risk-taking behaviour. Netherlands J. Sea Res., 31(4), 477-494.

Frederick, P. C., Bildstein, K. L., Fleury, B. & Ogden, J. (1996). Conservation of large, nomadic populations of White Ibises (Eudocimus albus) in the United States. Conserv. Biol., 10(1), 203-216.

Gruber, J., Kahn, A. & Backwell, P. R. Y. (2019). Risks and rewards: balancing costs and benefits of predator avoidance in a fiddler crab. Anim. Behav., 158, 9-13.

Heath, J. A., Frederick, P. C., Kushlan, J. A., & Bildstein, K. L. (2020). White Ibis Eudocimus albus. In A. F. Poole (Ed.), Birds of the World (Vol. 1). Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Kerr, K. A. (2015). Decreased temperature results in daytime larval release by the fiddler crab Uca deichmanni Rathbun, 1935. J. Crustac. Biol., 35(2), 185-190.

Kim, T. W., Christy, J. H., & Choe, J. C. (2007). A preference for a sexual signal keeps females safe. PLoS ONE, 2(5), e422.

Koga, T., Backwell, P. R. Y., Christy, J. H., Murai, M. & Kasuya, E. (2001). Male-biased predation of a fiddler crab. Anim. Behav., 62(2), 201-207.

Kushlan, J. A. (1979). Feeding ecology and prey selection in the White Ibis. Condor, 81(4), 376-389.

Landstorfer, R. B. & Schubart, C. D. (2010). A phylogeny of Pacific fiddler crabs of the subgenus Minuca (Crustacea, Brachyura, Ocypodidae: Uca) with the description of a new species from a tropical gulf in Pacific Costa Rica. J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res., 48(3), 213-218.

Lombardo, R. C. (2022). First record of the Fiddler Crab, Minuca osa from the Eastern Montijo Gulf, Panama. Rev. Cien. Mar. Cost., 14(2), 27-35.

Lombardo, R. C. & Rojas, M. (2022). Burrow fidelity in the blue crab, Cardisoma crassum Smith, 1870 (Brachyura: Gecarcinidae) from the Ponuga River, Veraguas, Panama. Nauplius, 30, e2022033.

Nomann, B. E. & Pennings, S. C. (1998). Fiddler crab-vegetation interactions in hypersaline habitats. J. Exp. Mar. Bio. Ecol., 225(1), 53-68.

Pope, D. S. (2005). Waving in a crowd: fiddler crabs signal in networks. In P. McGregor (Ed.), Animal Communication Networks (pp. 252–276). Cambridge University Press. United Kingdom.

Ribeiro, P. D., Navarro, D. D., Jaureguy, L. M., Daleo, P., & Iribarne, O. O. (2019). Evaluating the potential impact of bird predation on the SW Atlantic fiddler crab Leptuca uruguayensis. Helgol. Mar. Res., 73(1), 1-12.

Rosenberg, M. S. (2014). Contextual cross-referencing of species names for fiddler crabs (Genus Uca): an experiment in cyber-taxonomy. PLoS One, 9(7), e101704.

Rosenberg, M. S. (2020). A fresh look at the biodiversity lexicon for fiddler crabs (Decapoda: Brachyura: Ocypodidae). Part 2: Biogeography. J. Crustac. Biol., 40(4), 365-383.

Shih, H.-T., Ng, P. K. L., Davie, P. J. F., Schubart, C. D., Türkay, M., Naderloo, R., Jones, D. & Liu, M.-Y. (2016). Systematics of the family Ocypodidae Rafinesque, 1815 (Crustacea: Brachyura), based on phylogenetic relationships, with a reorganization of subfamily rankings and a review of the taxonomic status of Uca Leach, 1814, sensu lato and its subgenera. Raffles Bull. Zool., 64, 139-175.

Silva e Silva, R. & Olmos, F. (2015). Distribution and natural history of the mangrove-dwelling Gray-necked Wood-Rail, Aramides cajaneus avicenniae Stotz, 1992, in southeastern Brazil. Rev. Bras. Ornitol., 23(4), 368-376.

Takeshita, F. & Nishiumi, N. (2022). Social behaviors elevate predation risk in fiddler crabs: quantitative evidence from field observations. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 76(12).

Villegas-Retana, S. & Picado-Masís, J. (2021). Predation of Gecarcinus quadratus (Decapoda: Gecarcinidae) by Aramides cajaneus (Gruiformes: Rallidae) in Costa Rica. Rev. Cien. Mar. Cos., 13(2), 23-26.

Zwarts, L. (1985). The winter exploitation of fiddler crabs Uca tangeri by waders in Guinea-Bissau. Ardea, 73(1), 3-12.



How to Cite

Lombardo-González, R. C. (2023). Predation of the fiddler crab, Minuca osa (Brachyura: Ocypodidae), by Eudocimus albus (Pelecaniformes: Threskiornithidae) from Ponuga, Veraguas, Panama. Journal of Marine and Coastal Sciences, 15(2), 2-17.



Scientific notes (short communications)

How to Cite

Lombardo-González, R. C. (2023). Predation of the fiddler crab, Minuca osa (Brachyura: Ocypodidae), by Eudocimus albus (Pelecaniformes: Threskiornithidae) from Ponuga, Veraguas, Panama. Journal of Marine and Coastal Sciences, 15(2), 2-17.

Comentarios (ver términos de uso)