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Insect-like olfactory adaptations in the terrestrial giant robber crab

Stensmyr, M C; Erland, Susanne LU ; Hallberg, Eric LU ; Wallén, Rita LU ; Greenaway, P and Hansson, Bill S (2005) In Current Biology 15(2). p.116-121
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 [1]. Apart from the marine larval stage [2, 3], this crab is fully terrestrial, and will actually drown if submerged in water [4]. 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 [5]. 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,... (More)
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 [1]. Apart from the marine larval stage [2, 3], this crab is fully terrestrial, and will actually drown if submerged in water [4]. 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 [5]. 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. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Current Biology
volume
15
issue
2
pages
116 - 121
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000226858600021
  • pmid:15668166
  • scopus:12544253485
ISSN
1879-0445
DOI
10.1016/j.cub.2004.12.069
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f0fd845c-577d-48d1-9a15-ca1b69bfd7d8 (old id 146852)
date added to LUP
2007-06-29 14:41:56
date last changed
2017-07-23 03:50:45
@article{f0fd845c-577d-48d1-9a15-ca1b69bfd7d8,
  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 [1]. Apart from the marine larval stage [2, 3], this crab is fully terrestrial, and will actually drown if submerged in water [4]. 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 [5]. 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.},
  author       = {Stensmyr, M C and Erland, Susanne and Hallberg, Eric and Wallén, Rita and Greenaway, P and Hansson, Bill S},
  issn         = {1879-0445},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {116--121},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Current Biology},
  title        = {Insect-like olfactory adaptations in the terrestrial giant robber crab},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2004.12.069},
  volume       = {15},
  year         = {2005},
}