Coconut Crab Pinches Harder Than Any Crustacean, Study Finds

Posted: Nov 24 2016, 12:04am CST | by , Updated: Nov 24 2016, 12:30am CST , in Latest Science News


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Coconut Crab Pinches Harder than any Crustacean, Study Finds
A coconut crab weighing about 2 kg. Credit: Shin-ichoro Oka

The force exerted by largest coconut crab is even greater than the bite force of most land predators

Coconut crab’s claws have the strongest pinching force than any crustacean. In fact, their pinching force is even stronger than the bite force of most land predators.

Coconut crabs are the largest crustaceans found on Earth. They can weigh up to 4 kilograms and grow more than 3 feet in length.

Coconut crabs are found on islands across the Pacific and Indian Ocean. They use their large claws to fight and defend themselves as well as to crack coconuts and other food with hard exterior, which is likely the reason they are called coconut crabs.

Their large claws are strong enough to lift up to 28 kilograms. However until now, the pinching force of their claws has never been precisely measured.

Researchers captured 29 coconut crabs from Okinawa Island in southern Japan and used steel force sensors to measure their squeezing strength. Researchers found that crabs’ pinching force is strongly correlated to their body weight.

Since all the crabs used in the study varied in weight from 30 grams to about 2 kilograms, the force exerted by crabs was also significantly different. Based on this formula, a maximum-sized coconut crab weighing up to 4 kg can exert a crushing force of more than 3000 newtons, which exceeds both the pinching force of any other crustacean and the bite force of most land animals inlcuding leopards, dogs and wild bears. To put this in perspective, humans can achieve bite force of 340 newtons at most.

“The force is remarkably strong. They can generate about 90 times their body weight.” Lead researcher Shin-ichiro Oka from Okinawa Churashima Foundation in Japan said.

Coconut crabs can exert force almost equal to an adult lion. Only alligators have a stronger bite force than coconut crabs.

“The mighty claw is a terrestrial adaptation that is not only a weapon, which can be used to prevent predator attack and inhibit competitors, but is also a tool to hunt other terrestrial organisms with rigid exteriors, aiding in these organisms to be omnivores.” Study concludes.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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