Patterns of autotomy and regeneration in Hemigrapsus nudus

Tara Maginnis, University of Portland
Meike Niederhausen, University of Portland
Katherine Bates
Tai White-Toney

Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, 2014, Volume 47, Issue 3, 135-146.

© 2014 Taylor & Francis

Linked version is the final published version.

This article is published by Taylor & Francis in Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, in 2014, available online at:


Leg autotomy and regeneration can have severe impacts on survival and reproduction, and these impacts may be even more pronounced in animals with multifarious legs, such as decapods. Thus, determining the patterns and frequency of autotomy and regeneration could reveal the effects of these processes on the individual and population level. We investigated whether some legs are lost more often than others and if all legs are equally likely to be regenerated. We sampled nearly 500 purple shore crabs (Hemigrapsus nudus) and showed that (1) most animals are found with at least one injured leg, (2) the patterns of autotomy differ between males and females, and (3) successful claw regeneration is unlikely in both males and females. Future work with H. nudus and other grapsid crabs will elucidate how patterns seen here relate to other developmental and ecological factors.