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Hard of herring? Not us, say crabs

Published on Jun 18, 2014 7:16 AM
 
A picture taken on May 24, 2011,shows one of the three Kamchatka crabs which joined the Oceanopolis, Ocean Discovery Park in Brest, western France. Crabs have a sort of inner ear that helps them to hear nearby predators, US scientists have found. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Crabs have a sort of inner ear that helps them to hear nearby predators, US scientists have found.

An organ called the statocyst, previously shown to play a role in crustacean balance, is also used for the crab equivalent of hearing, they reported on Tuesday in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Biologists at Northeastern University in Massachusetts conducted lab experiments on mud crabs - small crustaceans found in reefs in the Gulf of Mexico - to see how they responded to underwater sounds.

The team placed a thin sensor under the crab's shell to measure electrical activity in the statocyst.

 
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