Crabs feel pain, researchers say

January 18, 2013|by Richard Gorelick | The Baltimore Sun

Researchers at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, are out with a new study that they say indicates that crabs feel pain. Or at least the shore crab (Carcinus maenas) does.

The experiment, designed by Barry Magee and Robert W. Elwood, introduced crabs to a new environment that included two shelters, one benign and one that gave out mild electric shocks. When the crabs were reintroduced to the environment, they pretty much did whatever they did the first time. But the third time they went in the tank, they tended to steer clear of the shock-giving shelter.

Their findings are to be published in the February issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology with the title "Shock avoidance by discrimination learning in the shore crab (Carcinus maenas) is consistent with a key criterion for pain."

The full text is not available without a subscription but the gist of the study is laid out very coherently with an introductory note that you can read here.    

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