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kottke.org posts about crabs

Consider the crab

posted by Ainsley Drew   Apr 01, 2009

Although it’s widely accepted that the scream heard when a lobster is dropped into a pot of boiling water is a bunch of hot air, it turns out that some crustaceans do feel pain, and have the capacity to remember it.

Some crabs that evacuated attacked the shell in the manner seen in a shell fight. Most crabs, however, did not evacuate at the stimulus level we used, but when these were subsequently offered a new shell, shocked crabs were more likely to approach and enter the new shell. Furthermore, they approached that shell more quickly, investigated it for a shorter time and used fewer cheliped probes within the aperture prior to moving in. Thus the experience of the shock altered future behaviour in a manner consistent with a marked shift in motivation to get a new shell to replace the one occupied. The results are consistent with the idea of pain in these animals.

And for a more eloquent take on the struggles of our shelled undersea edibles, there’s always David Foster Wallace’s riveting essay, “Consider the Lobster.”

via discover