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Deep under the ocean, there is a species of crab that eats trees. - BBC

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pampango Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 08:30 AM
Original message
Deep under the ocean, there is a species of crab that eats trees. - BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_835300...

The crab survives by eating wood that has sunk to the ocean floor, comprising trunks and leaves swept into the sea, as well as the odd shipwreck. Inside the stomach of the crab, also called a squat lobster, are bacteria and fungi that help digest the wood.

"At first sight, it seems improbable," says PhD student Caroline Hoyoux of the University of Lige, Belgium. "Munidopsis andamanica is a species only found in the deep sea and yet it eats 'terrestrial food'," she says.

Further investigation of the crabs mouthparts and gut contents revealed they feed exclusively on wood. "The wood falls that we study are principally natural tree debris that have sunk and reached the deep sea floor. They consist of real wood as well as plant fragments like leaves, seagrass, coconuts etc."

The ecological importance of wood falls rivals that of whale falls, where highly specialised communities of deep-sea animals colonise the bodies of dead whales and dolphins that drift to the sea bed.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 08:48 AM
Response to Original message
1. How do they taste?
Are they good with melted butter?

:9
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trumad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. They have a smoky flavor...
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 09:51 AM
Response to Reply #3
11. too much pulp.
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 08:55 AM
Response to Original message
2. Now if we can only find one that eats plastic and oil we'll be good.
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LiberalEsto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. How about crabs that eat CEOs and neocons? nt
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lame54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #4
18. imagine the indigestion and heartburn
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Kansas Wyatt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-14-09 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #4
21. How about we bribe the cleaning crew into....
Releasing tiny crabs into their private bathrooms?
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Bigmack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-15-09 01:14 AM
Response to Reply #4
29. There are some things even bottomfeeders won't eat! nt
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. I believe there are bacteria that do eat plastic and oil.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
5. does that mean that currents in the deep sea tend to dump the wood and whale corpses in particular
Edited on Wed Nov-11-09 09:12 AM by KittyWampus
spots?

Otherwise, I don't see how a crab that specializes its diet that much could evolve. There'd be too much time between meals if was just the random wood or whale find.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 09:13 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. That is what I wanted to know.
I kinda assumed that debris would scattery over ocean floor making concentration too low to be allow specialization.

Guess there are high density pockets.
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hunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 10:09 AM
Response to Reply #5
13. They have lots of tiny baby crabs that drift away...
Most of of these babies don't land in hospitable places, or are eaten, but those that do land on wood start new colonies. When the wood in one place is gone the big crabs starve.


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Kaleva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-14-09 10:54 PM
Response to Reply #13
24. and end up in people's underwear.
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petronius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-15-09 12:44 AM
Response to Reply #13
25. When the wood is gone the crabs die...
If only it was that simple... ;)
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Doremus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-15-09 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #25
30. LOL
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mikelgb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 10:10 AM
Response to Reply #5
14. I would guess yes. All the plastic seems to end up in the garbage patch.
the different properties of the various items along with currents probably distribute certain items very regularly.
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tomm2thumbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 09:15 AM
Response to Original message
8. it's like underwater termites that walk sideways

now I think I know where those missing buildings in Florida went
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-15-09 01:08 AM
Response to Reply #8
28. termites were my first thought as well...
like the crabs, they also have organisms inside them that digest the cellulose.
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 09:19 AM
Response to Original message
9. I've heard of catching crabs after GETTING wood ...
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Rebubula Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. You are horrible...
...but I LOL'd
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #9
19. ROFLMAO
:toast:
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Motown_Johnny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
12. any speculation on these bacteria and fungi being able to break down cellulose for ethanol?

I understand they would not be producing ethanol directly, but it did say "help digest".


Perhaps in combination with ethanol producing bacteria it could be feasible. (or I am just getting my hopes up again)
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badgerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 10:24 AM
Response to Original message
15. Life is amazing in its flexibility and rugged determination to BE...
...there are critters...beautiful pure red polyps...that have evolved to exist and thrive in the rather unfriendly environment of deep-water volcanic vents.
:wow:

It's kinda humbling when you think about it...
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. Read an article about that- life-forms that evolved without the sun but volcanic vents.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-11-09 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
16. Better that than any sort of crab in my underwear.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-14-09 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. --
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Toasterlad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-14-09 10:45 PM
Response to Original message
22. This Belongs In The Tree-Eating Crab Forum.
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Kaleva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-14-09 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. LOL!
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-15-09 12:51 AM
Response to Original message
26. sounds like the opening line for a good fantasy story.
"Deep under the ocean, there is a species of crab that eats trees."
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-15-09 01:06 AM
Response to Original message
27. Here's some images of "Squat Lobsters."




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