Friday, November 11, 2011

It coulda been a contender

I'm not one for fighting, but there's something about this Crabday's crab that makes me want to put up my dukes:

Boxer Crabs
Lybia sp.

Mickey loves ya

There are a handful anemone-ful of these little crabs, but they all have this awesome trait in common: symbiotic mutualism with sea anemones, who sit happily on the boxer crabs' chelae. The mutually beneficial relationship is the crab gets extra protection and the anemone gets easy food (crab scraps) and a free ride.

Don't mess with this mama!

Don't feel bad for the anemones, thinking that they're being thrust into other animals faces; at least in crab-on-crab battles, there's very little anemone contact. Anemones are used to emphasize claw movements, while actual contact is limited to the crabs' legs.

the full grapple position - legs interlocking and anemones held high

The anemones chosen for crab gloves are Triactis sp. They actually make awesome pom-pons, being waved around to showcase just how fancy fierce the boxer crabs are. Hence the boxer crab's other common name: 'pom-pom crab'. I can feel the spirit now!

Give me a V, dot the I, curl the C, T-O-R-Y!

read more:
Karplus, I., G. C. Fiedler, and P. Ramcharan. 1998. The intraspecific fighting behavior of the Hawaiian boxer crab, Lybia edmondsoni - fighting with dangerous weapons? Symbiosis 24: 287-302.

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