A team of scientists measured the pinch force of the largest crustaceans on Earth, the coconut crab. Scientifically known as Birgus Latro, this particular land crab can exert an impressive 750 pounds of raw force. The coconut crab lives in the Southern Pacific, as well as in some regions of the Indian ocean.
What is more impressive is the fact that its pinch force can match or be even greater than the bite strength of many representatives of the animal kingdom.
Shin-ichiro Oka is the lead researcher of the Japanese team. After the study, he went on to publish the paper in the PLOS ONE journal.
“The pinching force of the largest coconut crab is almost equal to the bite force of adult lions”, says Shin-ichiro Oka.
As its name suggests, this particular land crab species feasts mainly on coconuts. After it scrapes away the coconut’s coating, the Birgus Latro proceeds to break the fruit open with its incredibly powerful claws. However, the coconut crab’s diet includes other foods than just coconuts. The list contains carrion, nuts, fruits, smaller crabs, and even its own skeleton, after molting.
According to Shin-ichiro Oka, the coconut crab can generate as much as 90 times its body weight of force. This would be equivalent to crushing an object with approximately six tons of brute force. The Birgus Latro is a hermit crab and the largest crustaceans. Furthermore, the coconut crab is also the largest terrestrial invertebrate on Earth. A mature coconut crab can weigh about nine pounds and measure up to 3 feet long, with all of the ten legs extended. Moreover, a single individual can lift an object nearly 66 pounds with its claws.
Usually, the coconut crab uses its claws mainly for self-defense and breaking open and ultimately consuming foods that are otherwise inaccessible for other animals. The coconut crabs live on islands covering an area as far west as Zanzibar up to all the way to the eastern Gambier Islands. However, the most concentrated population can be found on the Christmas Island.
Explorers might want to stay away from crevices and burrows, as these represent the preferred dwellings of the coconut crab. They will attack anyone who tries to enter without a second thought. The team of Japanese researchers conducted the study on 29 mature coconut crabs on Wednesday, November 23rd.
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