Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Curr Biol. 2005 Jan 26;15(2):116-21.

Insect-like olfactory adaptations in the terrestrial giant robber crab.

Author information

  • 1Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Division of Chemical Ecology, PO Box 44, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden.

Abstract

The robber crab (Birgus latro), also known as the coconut crab, is the world's largest land-living arthropod, with a weight reaching 4 kg and a length of over half a meter. Apart from the marine larval stage, this crab is fully terrestrial, and will actually drown if submerged in water. A transition from sea to land raises dramatically new demands on the sensory equipment of an animal. In olfaction, the stimulus changes from hydrophilic molecules in aqueous solution to mainly hydrophobic in the gaseous phase. The olfactory system of land crabs thus represents an excellent opportunity for investigating the effects of the transition from sea to land. Have land crabs come to the same solutions as other terrestrial animals, or is their olfactory sense characterized by unique innovations? Here, we show that the robber crab has evolved an olfactory sense with a high degree of resemblance to the insect system. The similarities extend to physiological, behavioral, and morphological characters. The insect nose of the robber crab is a striking example of convergent evolution and nicely illustrates how similar selection pressures result in similar adaptation.

PMID:
15668166
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk