Sunday, 7 April 2013

Horned ghost crabs change camouflage from day to night

By Ella Davies, Reporter, BBC Nature
Horned ghost crabs change their appearance from day to night for camouflage, a study has revealed.

The species Ocypode ceratophthalmus builds burrows on beaches from Japan to East Africa to shelter from predators.

Researchers investigating young crabs' defences found they fine-tune their brightness to mimic their background.

The crabs reflected changes in their environment throughout the day, becoming lighter in the daytime and darker at night.

The findings are published in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Horned ghost crabs are named for their eyestalks which extend upwards resembling horns. The crabs are mostly active at night and juveniles are slightly translucent.

Dr Martin Stevens, working for the University of Cambridge, undertook the study with colleagues from the National University of Singapore.

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