Scientists Eye Use of Furry Crab to Heal Barrier Reef Coral Damage
By Vittorio Hernandez | February 6, 2013 9:58 AM EST
Researchers from the James Cook University in northern Queensland initially blamed furry coral crabs for the damage on the Great Barrier Reef, but they are now considering tapping the crabs to heal the corals from the white syndrome disease.
The damages were found at reefs near Cooktown, Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton.
"It turns out that these little crabs move potentially from nearby coral colonies, onto diseased colonies and they slow down the disease by three times," ABC quoted Joseph Pollock, a researcher at the university's School of Marine and Tropical Biology..
He explained that the crabs may actually be helping the coral by eating tissues that fall off and potentially any microscopic critters right at the disease lesion front.
"It could be these crabs are giving it (the coral) a bit of a chance to stay alive until potentially those water temperatures could come down or the coral could put up a defence to stop the disease progression," he added
.The crab's scientific name is Cymo melanodactylus. It is a species of small decapods crustacean from the Xanthidae family and found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, living in crevices and on the surface of corals.
It appears to be covered with short fur and with large pale blue, stalked eyes, a spiny carapace with a shallow groove down the middle.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- iPad Air 2 Release Date Will Skip IGZO Panel; To Rollout with Super-Slim iPad Mini Air
- Upcoming iPad Mini 3 Could be 30% Thinner and Likely be Called iPad Mini Air; Apple Q3 Results Show 9% Decrease in iPad Sales
- Sony Xperia M2 vs. Moto G – Specifications, Features and Price Showdown