Coconut crabs have the most crushing claws: researchers discover

Coconut crabs have the most crushing claws: researchers discover

The claws of coconut crabs (Birgus latro) are more powerful than that of any other crustacean and their maximum crushing force is greater than the bite force of all land animals, Japanese researchers discover.

Coconut crabs, which are native to islands in the Indian and Pacific oceans, are remarkably strong. They can easily crack open coconuts and lift up things weighing up to 28 kilograms or 62 pounds.

A team of researchers headed by Shin-ichiro Oka of the Okinawa Churashima Foundation in Japan measured the squeezing force of 29 coconut crabs on the Okinawa Island using a sensor. They were surprised to find that coconut crabs can exert a force of 3,300 newtons. The figure represents 4.5 times stronger force than the grip strength of a typical human.

The researchers reported in the journal PLOS ONE, “The mighty claws of these crabs are useful weapons to deter predators and competitors. In summary, coconut crabs have the ability to exert the greatest force among almost all terrestrial animals.”

With a weight of up to 9 pounds and leg-span of 3 feet, coconut crabs are also the biggest of all land-based arthropods – a group of creatures that includes insects, spiders and crustaceans.

In spite of their remarkable size and strength, little is known about coconut crabs and whether or not they are an endangered or threatened species.



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