Pea crabs tickle shellfish to find love http://b4in.org/jJro
Using infrared cameras to capture the mating rituals of the New Zealand pea crab, researchers from the University of Auckland discovered that the male member of the species engages in an unusual behavior to gain access to females – tickling.
As detailed in a recent edition of the journal Parasite, the researchers observed the crabs (which live along inside shellfish) leave the safety of their homes and find a nearby mussel containing a potential mate. Once they find her, likely by following chemical signals, they spend nearly four hours trying to tickle their way in to get to her, National Geographic explained.
This marks the first time that this type of behavior has been found in a crustacean, co-author Oliver Trottier told the website. He and his colleagues are not yet certain why it works, but one possibility is that the male crab tickles the shellfish to relax it, so that it doesn’t force itself shut and crush him as he is attempting to reach the female.
Late night tickling (wink)