Researchers have identified the first known example of one animal, a boxer crab, stimulating another animal, a sea anemone, to reproduce asexually.
(From NPR / By Rebecca Hersher)– From the outside, it’s a bit of an abusive situation.
The crabs and anemones have a symbiotic relationship. The anemones live on the delicate front claws of the crabs, protecting the claws and helping the crab mop up bits of food. The benefit to the anemone is less clear — the crab controls how much food its sea anemones get, maintaining them as small “bonsai” versions.
“For the crab, we can say with almost certainty that the crab is dependent on the anemone,” explains lead author Yisrael Schnytzer, who is now at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. “For the anemone, it is more unclear.”
And yet, the two animals are virtually inseparable.
For their research into the relationship, Schnytzer and his team gathered more than 100 boxer crabs, and all had sea anemones on their claws.
In a paper published in the most recent issue of the journal PeerJ, they tested how boxer crabs acquire and maintain those anemones.
Then, they watched what happened.
The crab split its one anemone in two.
Read the full article here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/08/514132920/crab-teases-anemone-anemone-splits-in-two-crab-and-anemone-live-on?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20170208