Researchers from the University of Bayreuth, Germany discovered how two hermit crab species co-exist on the same beach without fighting over limited resources like food or shelter.
Many studies about spatial learning in animals have focused on land animals, and less so in marine animals, possibly due to the difficulty in following them around.
This new study, led by Swansea University marine biologist Ed Pope and master’s student Ross Davies, gives a glimpse into the European shore crab’s level of spatial learning ability.
First, the team constructed a special maze that measured 75cm by 50cm. A single crushed mussel was placed at the end of it.
In many science fiction movies today—those with alien spaceships—the aliens look very similar to some of the underwater inhabitants of our own planet. Indeed, there is no need to invent some mythical creature to stir up the imagination of the viewer; it is enough just to show an image of a jellyfish, an octopus or a giant crab. And this story is all about the king crabs.
“The oldest known shrimp prior to this discovery came from Madagascar,” Feldmann said. “This one is way younger, having an age of ‘only’ 245 million years, making the shrimp from Oklahoma 125 million years older.”
The discovery is also one of the two oldest decapods (‘ten footed’) to which shrimp, crabs and lobsters belong. The other decapod, Palaeopalaemon newberryi, is of similar age and was found in Ohio and Iowa. “The shrimp from Oklahoma might, thus, be the oldest decapod on earth,” Feldmann explained.