The impact of the most powerful animal on Earth, the mantis cancer, on land was several times weaker. This observation was made by biologists from the University of Cambridge, whose study was published in the journal Journal of Experimental Biology.
Praying mantis crayfish are crustaceans that live in the western Pacific Ocean from Taiwan and Ryukyu to Peter the Great Bay. In a calm state, their paws resemble the limbs of a mantis, and while hunting for other crustaceans, fish, mollusks and polychaete worms, their claws move faster and more powerful than the movements of any other creature on Earth.
The speed and power of blows of one of the representatives of the species, the magnificent mantis crab (Odontodactylus scyllarus), strikes with a force comparable to the killing capacity of a small-caliber hunting rifle.
The researchers decided to find out how effective their claws are on land. To do this, they selected some of the most aggressive individuals of the species Squilla mantis, which use claws to pierce their prey. Scientists expected that they would hit even faster and harder on land, however, observations showed that the force of impact decreased many times.
The fact is that air dissipates much worse the energy of impact, which is absorbed by protective structures inside their limbs. With the same speed and attack power, the crustacean limbs would very quickly collapse, the researchers note.
“Initially, we studied the electrophysiological properties of the body of these cancers, placing them in a special structure that held their claws in the air, and the gills in water. Our colleague passed by, who suggested measuring the force of the impact of crayfish in the air, which no one had done before”.
Kate Feller, lead author of the study
Biologists previously discovered the beginnings of abstract thinking in bumblebees. Researchers at Queen Mary University were able to determine this by observing how insects felt or looked at various shapes made from sweet sugar or bitter quinine.