Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



Ecology and Evolution


Bergmann's rule predicts that organisms at higher latitudes are larger than ones at lower latitudes. Here, we examine the body size pattern of the Atlantic marsh fiddler crab, Minuca pugnax (formerly Uca pugnax), from salt marshes on the east coast of the United States across 12 degrees of latitude. We found that M. pugnax followed Bergmann's rule and that, on average, crab carapace width increased by 0.5 mm per degree of latitude. Minuca pugnax body size also followed the temperature–size rule with body size inversely related to mean water temperature. Because an organism's size influences its impact on an ecosystem, and M. pugnax is an ecosystem engineer that affects marsh functioning, the larger crabs at higher latitudes may have greater per‐capita impacts on salt marshes than the smaller crabs at lower latitudes.




Bergmann's rule, fiddler crab, Gulf of Maine, salt marsh, temperature–size rule, tropicalization

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.