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Animal Action: Fiddler Crabs -

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After many hours of observation, researchers from the Australian National University were surprised
to observe fiddler crabs behaving in a way that had never been seen before. It is known that the
fiddler crab is a filter feeder and that the male impresses suitors by gesturing with the larger of
its asymmetric claws and participating in ritualistic courtship battles. But never before has
anyone recorded another far more sinister use of the male's oversized claw.


Crabs. Little guys that run around making balls of sand.

But in the tangled maze of mangroves there is a peculiar bunch of individuals who have some very
unique behaviours. Meet the fiddler crab.

Researchers have been studying why the males have such a giant claw and have uncovered some amazing
behaviours. Males use their enormous claw as the ultimate adornment, waving it back and forth
mesmerizing the females.

But it is not just in mateship that these claws are handy. Many crabs are just filter feeders
scraping algae and microscope animals from the sand. Researchers thought this was the case with the
fiddler crab and then they revealed their dark side. They turn to hunting and eating live prey.

Some even become cannibals, using their oh so attractive and powerful claw, to kill other members
of the family. This wasn't expected as they have a mouth for filter feeding not chewing. Reminding
us that appearances can be deceiving.