Meet the coconut crab, the king of all crustaceans. Fierce and scary-looking, this gigantic crustacean, which usually lives in the vicinity of coconut trees, has been and is the subject of many scientific debates.
Coconut crabs live in the central part of the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. The largest concentration of king crabs has been reported on the Christmas Island. The coconut crab has been discovered in the late 16th century, during the voyages of Sir Francis Drake. However, the crab’s genus (Birgus), has been formulated in the first decade of the 19th century by William Elford Leach.
An adult coconut crab weighs approximately 4 kilograms and can reach lengths of up to 1 meter, from one leg to another. The crab’s diet is based on seeds, fruits, nuts, and tree pith. However, on rare occasions, the researchers have observed that the coconut crab will consume carrion.
A recently published study revealed even more surprising facts about the King of Crustaceans. The study was conducted by Professor Shin-Ichiro Oka from the Okinawa Churashima Foundation, and a team of marine biologists.
The purpose of this new study was to assert the coconut crab’s physical strength. According to the study’s preliminary data, this land crustacean, which has two large and intimidating pincers, can exert a force of 3,300 newtons.
By comparison, the coconut crab’s pincer power makes a professional boxer look like a child fighting with a pillow. A professional boxer can punch with a force of 2,500 newtons. However, if these numbers don’t mean that much to you then think about the fact that an average and healthy human adult can chew with a force of 800 newtons. Get the picture now?
This means that the coconut crab can snap your arm in two like kindling if he wishes to. The Professor and his team have theorized in their paper that the coconut crab’s gigantic pincers are an evolutionary trait and that it has occurred after they’ve lost their shelter.
Another fun fact discovered by the scientist during their study of coconut crabs is that this massive land crustacean can lift approximately 30 kilograms and that its exoskeleton is one of the strongest ever observed in crustaceans.
And now, for some fun facts about the gigantic land crab:
- Coconut crabs are very active at night.
- They have a keen sense of smell.
- Coconut crabs will climb coconut trees in order to knock out coconuts.
- It is considered an aphrodisiac and a delicacy.
- Adult coconut crabs can’t swim. Only their larvae can.
- Coconut crabs live 40 to 60 years.
Image source: Flickr