01 April 2014
Tuesday Crustie: Taxi!
This is a Cape River crab (Potamonautes perlatus)... with passengers. A new paper by Badets and Du Preez (2014) shows how these crabs act as taxis for leeches (seen in the inset). While we often think of leeches as bloodsuckers, in this case, they are not harming the crab at all. They are simply using the crab as a way to be spread around in hope of finding their preferred host, the clawed frog (Xenopus laevis).
Badets M, Du Preez L. 2014. Phoretic interaction between the kangaroo leech Marsupiobdella africana (Hirudinea: Glossiphoniidae) and the cape river crab Potamonautes perlatus (Decapoda: Potamonautidae). International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 3(1): 6–11. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2013.10.001
ScienceShot: Kangaroo Leeches Use Horny Male Crabs as Taxicabs