Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Weight-lifting mama

They say ants are the best weight lifters, lifting 20 to 50 pounds their own weight. I think maybe crabs have them beat. Small crabs move stones or shells much larger than themselves, often laden down with seaweeds and other critters on top.

I've been watching the tiny black-clawed crabs in my tank. The female is still only about a centimetre (1/2 inch) across, and weighs about 2 grams, according to my food scale*. She has chosen the base of a large stone as her preferred hiding place, kicking out the larger male who lived there earlier. Yesterday, the stone was tipped almost onto its side. This morning, it was straightened up again, but turned at a right angle from its previous position.

I took the stone out and weighed it. A little over 250 grams, more than half a pound, That's over 100 times the weight of the crab that's shifting it around.

Two legs to hold the rock, four to lift it, and two pincers to wave at intruders.

(*I weighed her in a plastic cup, with a bit of water for comfort, and then the cup and water alone. The crab made barely any difference.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

If your comment is on a post older than a week, it will be held for moderation. Sorry about that, but spammers seem to love old posts!

Also, I have word verification on, because I found out that not only do I get spam without it, but it gets passed on to anyone commenting in that thread. Not cool!