Pom pom crab: The crustacean that uses anemones as boxing gloves
The reason it’s so awesome: The pom crab expands to a mere half-an-inch (13 millimeters) in width, and its exoskeleton is soft, which makes its armor pretty ineffective. However, despite its tiny dimensions, this little crustacean is known to wrestle and eat while holding dangerous weapons, like sea anemones.
The pom-pom crabs, sometimes called Hawaiian boxer crabs, have tiny sea anemones within each claw, utilized to battle other competitors. The anemone species, Triactis product, is poisonous -and the crabs move the anemones about as a defense against predators and to catch food.
They also take them in mini-fights between them.
In the investigation of behavior released in 1997, scientists selected 12 crab pairs -6 males and six females. Then, they set them against one another in a small crustacean gladiator arena. It was the one who retreated or escaped the most.
The video footage showed that crabs were more interested in using the anemones to show off than actually making contact. It was believed to be an accident if they did contact their opponents. Why would you want to use these creatures?
Researchers had many ideas; however, there was no agreement. There were a variety of different (and unpredictable) theories. One theory was that the anemones could be so harmful to crabs that they’re dangerous to use as weapons, and their use could cause severe injuries to both combatants.
On the other hand, there is a possibility that they’re not harmful to crabs, and therefore there’s no point in using them.
Ultimately, the anemones might be so valuable that it would not be worth the crabs to be at risk of damaging the anemones. The crabs know that they use anemones to capture food particles and consume them. If they lose one of the anemones, they split the rest into two pieces, so it has one in each claw.
Scientists are still trying to determine why boxer crabs stick to sea anemones. The reason the anemone cancan get out of it is unknown.