Coconut crab outperforms lobsters in crustacean trials of strength
Lobsters are lightweights - the mighty coconut crab has the most powerful claws of any crustacean, scientists have discovered.
Tests conducted on 29 wild coconut crabs from Okinawa island, Japan, showed that the largest produced a pinching force of 3,300 newtons.
That is equivalent to 742 pounds and exceeds the bite force of all terrestrial animals except alligators.
Coconut crabs live on land and are the world's largest arthropod, the group of many-legged animals that includes insects and crustaceans.
Large specimens can grow to the size of a small dog, weighing as much as 4.1 kg (9lb) and measuring up to one metre (3ft 3ins) across.
The crabs have a varied diet, including coconuts which they break open using their claws, smaller crustaceans, and carrion. They have even been known to hunt rats.
Results from the claw tests are reported in the journal Public Library of Science ONE.
The Japanese team led by Shin-ichiro Oka, from the Okinawa Churashima Foundation, wrote: "The mighty claw is a terrestrial adaptation that is not only a weapon, which can be used to prevent predator attack and inhibit competitors, but is also a tool to hunt other terrestrial organisms with rigid exteriors, aiding in these organisms to be omnivores."