Feeding ability and motivation were assessed in the edible crab, Cancer pagurus, to investigate how the fishery practice of de-clawing may affect live crabs returned to the sea. Crabs were either induced to autotomise one claw, or were only handled, before they were offered food. Initially, autotomised and handled crabs were offered mussels, Mytilis edulis, a large part of their natural diet. After 3 days, both autotomised and handled crabs were then offered fish, a more readily handled food source. Autotomy induced crabs consumed significantly fewer mussels and less mussel mass, but ate significantly more mass of fish. This indicates that the effect of autotomy was a reduction of ability to feed on mussels rather than a general reduction of feeding motivation. The discontinuation of claw removal needs to be considered, both for the sustainability of the fishery and animal welfare concerns.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||School of Biological Sciences, Queen's University Belfast, Medical Biology Centre, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org|
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