Crayfish are a marine animal, yet they have few known behaviours.
In fact, some of the species have been found to be quite aggressive, and have even been known to bite.
In a new study, scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered that cray-fish are not only more aggressive than their land cousins, they are also more adaptable to the harsh environment they live in.
The research was published in the journal Current Biology.
A common reaction to crayFish is to try and kill them with a spear.
But it’s not that simple.
To learn more about this behaviour, lead author and PhD student John Nunnar said that crays have been known for at least 50 million years to use their flippers as weapons, and are capable of inflicting injury and even death.
This is particularly true of the giant freshwater cray, which has a body length of up to 10 metres (26ft) and a body mass of more than 50 tonnes.
The study team, led by Nunnars PhD student Jie Liu, wanted to understand how these species use their ability to control the environment in order to make their own way.
In this case, it was their ability not only to adapt to their environment but to adapt as well to other species.
This means that, in addition to their natural ability to attack other animals, they also possess an incredible range of other behaviours that they are very good at, the team reports.
The team looked at the behaviour of the crayFishes in the water and found that they were using their flipper to attack both their prey and other fish, and even their own offspring.
For example, they would try to kill their prey by grabbing it with their tail, but this also proved to be very effective.
The researchers then used sonar to track the behaviour.
This allowed them to use a variety of techniques to determine how often they used the flipper.
By looking at how frequently the crays flippers were used, the researchers were able to determine whether they were being aggressive towards their prey.
They found that the majority of the time they were actually attacking their prey in order for them to escape.
However, when they were trying to catch the prey, the majority did not use the flippers at all.
They instead used their claws, as well as other body parts, to catch their meal.
The reason for this is because they were unable to make the transition from biting to biting.
They were just too aggressive, with some even grabbing their own prey.
“We found that there was a significant change in behaviour after they stopped using the flips,” Nunnas said.
“It is a lot more adaptive than the behaviour we saw previously.”
While the researchers cannot pinpoint exactly why these fish were able change their behaviour, they believe that it is because the behaviour evolved after they were exposed to a variety in the environment.
The same process could have also been happening with the giant cray.
“When we first started investigating the giant clams we thought it was a completely unrelated phenomenon, but that turned out to be the wrong thing to look at,” Nunsar said.
While this discovery may not be surprising, it does demonstrate that, like all animals, cray fishes can adapt to the environment around them, and that this may help them in their long journey towards becoming a sustainable food source.
“Crayfish are the only living organisms that are known to have evolved a range of behaviours that allow them to adapt in the extreme,” Liu said.
They may be known to be aggressive towards each other, but the behaviour they use to escape predators has evolved a very similar adaptation.
“The evolutionary process has changed the behaviour,” Nunnas said.
He said that this adaptation has been observed in other species that are also known to eat cray fish.
“I think this shows that these animals can adapt very well to the extreme environments they are in,” he said.
By finding the adaptive change in the behaviour, Liu hopes that the species can be more productive in the long term.
He added that he hopes that their research will help us to understand the evolution of other marine creatures.
“If you look at other animals that are doing something that is adaptive and successful, then you should look at it more closely,” he explained.
“This is why we need to look into the evolution and evolution of animals that we know are very successful at their life cycle.”
This article originally appeared on The Conversation.