Profile image
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

The coconut crab’s pinch is the strongest in the world

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:10
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

Despite having been studied for more than 100 years, coconut crabs have largely remained a mystery to biologists.

In a new study, researchers have found the crustaceans have claws capable of exerting 742 pounds of force, despite typically weighing 10 pounds or less.

Coconut crabs are the largest hermit crabs on the planet, but unlike most hermit crabs, mature coconut crabs do not scavenge sea shells to protect their vulnerable backside. Instead, they rely on their massive, powerful claws and tough exoskeleton to ward off attacks from would-be predators.

coconut crab

(Credit: Shin-ichoro Oka/

Researchers behind the new study said they found out firsthand just how painful a pinch from those claws could be.

“When I was pinched, I couldn’t do anything until they unfastened their claws,” study author Shin-ichiro Oka, from the Okinawa Churashima Foundation, Japan, said in a news release. “Although it was only a few minutes, it felt like an eternal hell.”

Finding the Crab’s Crushing Strength

To reach their conclusion, researchers assessed the claw pinching drive of 29 coconut crabs on Okinawa Island, Japan. The team found pinch pressure elevated with crab body mass.

“We expected the force would be very strong, but the actual power exceeded our expectations,” Oka said. “We were surprised that their pinching force was approximately 90 times their body weight — if I was a coconut crab weighing 65 kg (143 pounds), I could crush something with about 6 tons of force!”

The crunch of a coconut crab is stronger than all other crustaceans. The crabs’ pinch is even stronger than the bite of any land predator. One big exception is the alligator, which can bite down with nearly 2,900 pounds of force.

The crabs use their claws for more than defense and hunting. They also allow the crustaceans the ability to crack through coconuts, a skill which is crucial to maintaining their tremendous size. At up to a yard across, coconut crabs are the world’s biggest land arthropods, or invertebrate animals with an exoskeleton. Despite the fact that female coconut crabs discharge their eggs into the ocean, adult crabs are land animals. Their spongy gills are even lung-like, taking up oxygen from the air.


Image credit: Thinkstock

The post The coconut crab’s pinch is the strongest in the world appeared first on Redorbit.
offers Science, Space, Technology, Health news, videos, images and reference information. For the latest science news, space news, technology news, health news visit frequently. Learn something new every day.”


We encourage you to Share our Reports, Analyses, Breaking News and Videos. Simply Click your Favorite Social Media Button and Share.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Top Global

Top Alternative



Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.