Coconut crab claws pinch with the strongest force of any crustacean

The claws of coconut crabs have the strongest pinching force of any crustacean, according to a study.

Coconut crabs are the largest terrestrial crustacean and are remarkably strong, lifting up to 28 kilograms. The crabs use their claws to fight and defend themselves, and to eat coconuts and other foods with hard exteriors. While decapods exert the greatest pinching force relative to their mass, the pinching force of coconut crabs was unknown. The researchers measured the claw pinching force of 29 wild coconut crabs.

The researchers found that pinching force increased with body mass.

Ducklings 'maintain two separate memory banks of visual information

Scientists have shown that newly hatched ducklings can readily acquire the concepts of 'same' and 'different' -- an ability previously known only in highly intelligent animals such as apes, crows and parrots.

Ducklings and other young animals normally learn to identify and follow their mother through a type of learning called imprinting, which can occur in as little as 15 minutes after hatching. Imprinting is a powerful form of learning that can allow ducklings to follow any moving object, provided they see it within the species' typical 'sensitive period' for imprinting.

Life in Earth's soils may be older than believed

Way before trees or lichens evolved, soils on Earth were alive, as revealed by a close examination of microfossils in the desert, reports a team of researchers according to Science daily.

These tiny fossils require a microscope to see and probably represent whole organisms. The 3,000 million-year-old rocks have long been thought to be of marine origin. However, "a closer look at the dusty salt minerals of the rocks suggests they had to have experienced evaporation on land," said paleontologist Gregory Retallack, lead author on a study.

Bees use multiple cues in hunt for pollen

Bees use a variety of senses and memory of previous experiences when deciding where to forage for pollen, research suggests.

The researchers believe pollen-collecting bees do not base their foraging decisions on taste alone, but instead make an "overall sensory assessment" of their experience at a particular flower.

Bees typically do not eat pollen when they collect it from flowers, but carry it back to the nest via special "sacs" on their legs or hairs on their body.

Blind as a bat? Spooky creatures traded good sight and smell for the ability to hunt using their sense of sound

Bats' ability to detect and hunt insects in the dark using echolocation is one of the marvels of the natural world.

But to evolve their unique sonar system for exploring pitch-back caves, some species made trade-offs when it came to their other senses such as vision and hearing, a new study reveals.

While it doesn't confirm the popular phrase 'blind as a bat', the study says two types of bat that rely on echolocation have lost a dozen vision-related genes.

Echolocation works by bats making high pitched calls inaudible to humans as they fly and listening to the returning echoes.