Stomatopod crustaceans have complex visual systems capable of excellent spatial, colour and polarization vision. Accordingly, visual signals are used widely in their intraspecific communication behaviour. We tested the role of a particular visual signal thought to be important in mate choice in a stomatopod crustacean Haptosquilla trispinosa, by manipulating the ability of a brightly blue coloured, polarized light reflecting region on their first maxillipeds to reflect light. Depriving male H. trispinosa of their ability to produce bright blue polarized light signals did not affect their overall chances of being accepted by females. However, in comparison with control males, they had to signal significantly longer before being accepted by females, had briefer mating durations and received more aggressive responses from females before mating. These data show that males without coloured and polarized maxilliped reflections find it more difficult to be accepted by females than normal males, indicating that these light signals play an important role in mate selection in H. trispinosa. Our experiments show that highly regionalized, specific visual stimuli can be used in intraspecific signalling in a marine crustacean group known for its visualcompetence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science