Three species of fiddler crab live in Virginia: the red-jointed fiddler (Uca minax), the sand fiddler (Uca pugilator), and the marsh fiddler (Uca pugnax). A pair of low-power binoculars and a bit of time to observe these interesting creatures will reveal their interesting behavior patterns. Males have one very large claw that they wave to show off or to attract a mate. The territorial males will readily fight over burrows, which may reach up to 2 feet and take several days to build. The burrowing and feeding of fiddler crabs plays an important role in the ecology of the marsh, bringing nutrient-rich sediments to the surface and oxygen to plant roots.
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