Watch: Crab Tickles Shellfish for Hours to Find Love
Newly released video shows how male pea crabs gain access to females—and it's behavior never before seen in a crustacean.
There's no barrier to love for a tiny crab that tickles its way into mollusks to find a mate, a new study has found.
How these so-called pea crabs, which live alone inside shellfish, find love has long been a mystery to scientists. (See "Wild Romance: Weird Animal Courtship and Mating Rituals.")
Now their secret is finally out, according to researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand—and they have intimate video footage to prove it.
Infrared cameras set up in the lab caught male New Zealand pea crabs (Nepinnotheres novaezelandiae) leaving the safely of their green-lipped mussel homes to search for females.
Having pinpointed a mussel occupied by a potential mate—likely via chemical cues—the males spent up to four hours tickling