Wet welcome

时间:2019-03-08 04:16:17166网络整理admin

By Jon Copley LOBSTERS exchange calling cards by squirting a stream of urine at each other. Far from being antisocial, this helps them avoid fights and even select a mate. Thomas Breithaupt of the University of Konstanz in Germany and his colleagues wondered why many marine animals have bladders to store urine when it could just leak out into the water. So they glued catheters onto lobsters in an aquarium and measured the animals’ urine release in a variety of situations. The crustaceans urinated more often and more copiously when they met another lobster. To check this was not simply a stress response, the team chased each animal round the tank with a lobster-sized glass plate. They released less urine than when left alone (The Journal of Experimental Biology, vol 202, p 837). “We think they might have bladders for communication and to avoid predators,” says Breithaupt. Not urinating when disturbed reduces the chance of a predator sniffing them out. And when two males meet, their urine carries a record of who is boss. “They release urine to recognise the winner of a former fight,” says Breithaupt. Urine signals may also help female lobsters choose their mates, he suggests,