Boxer Crab

Ding Ding! Let’s shake hands and have a nice clean fight chaps, Queensbury rules. What’s that you say? He’s got a pair of viciously stingy Cnidaria on his mitts … mmmh no that is hardly cricket old bean, or boxing for that matter.

... come on! put up your dukes...

The boxer crab can be found bopping things on the nose in the Indian Ocean, where they have co-existed for some time alongside their anemone boxing glove chums. Their claws have changed shape to slip on the stingy mitts, a flat pad allows the sticky base of the anemone to slap on to the surface of the snippers. Of course most creatures have evolved to not become a weapon for walloping unfriendly buggers in the Indian Ocean with, yet the anemones don’t seem to mind and indeed may benefit from the relationship. The boxer crab has abominable table habits, he eats like a hungry Scot with a head cold, consequentially with all the bits flying everywhere the anemones are thought to get a passable brunch from our boxing chum. Still it’s the weapon wielder rather than the weapons we’d like to chat about today.

It’s not so long since we were hairy little buggers sharpening up sticks to jab things with in Africa. That is until we happened upon a great idea to shape a rock and shove it on the end of a stick and called it an axe, a design that has remained pretty much unchanged for millennia. We soon realized not only was it terrific for chopping up stuff, it was smashing for bonking things over the head with… quite literally.

... c'mon step in the ring, make my day...

It’s not just us and the boxer crab that go around bothering things with weapons either. In a famous study when a fake leopard was introduced to a troop of chimps they whacked it on the head with sticks until its bonce fell off. Some chimps have even been observed sharpening sticks on the African savannah – and we all know where that ended up the last time. Other animals use weapons too; the blanket octopus likes to rip the stingers from Portuguese man ’O war and flail things with them, the woodpecker finch uses a cactus spine as a small spear to jab prey with, and the boxer crab uses a pair of anemones to bonk things on the nose that… well… deserve to be punched on the nose.

Published in: on September 23, 2010 at 8:20 am  Comments (1)