Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Pictures: Crab Swarms Overtake Island—Mystery Solved - National Geographic

photo credit Mrinalini, Bangor University

Well, isn't that picture just adorable? I think they're just the cutest things.

For a long time scientists have wondered how the normally sedentary little crabs have been able to undertake "one of the most arduous migrations on Earth." Now we know.

Every year millions of the bright red crabs march down from a high rainforest plateau to the shores of the Indian Ocean to mate. You might have seen clips of this on BBC or Animal Planet shows before - it's really quite a lot of crabs! Usually these guys are pretty lazy.

""It's an amazing feat—going from not being able to exercise for more than ten minutes to walking for several miles," said Turner, a biologist at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom."

Turns out a huge spike in the crustacean hyperglycemic hormone "works with glucose, an energy-producing sugar, to fuel the epic trek."

Sugared crabs. Who woulda thunk?

Full article (and some glorious photos!) here (National Geographic)

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