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Do crabs feel pain? Researchers subject crabs to small electrical shocks to find out

Ross Cronkrite | Science Recorder | January 17, 2013

Do crabs feel pain? Researchers subject crabs to small electrical shocks to find out

Crabs feel pain, say researchers.

Researchers at Queens University-Belfast have subjected crabs to small electrical shocks to determine whether live crustaceans such a crabs, prawns and lobsters feel pain. They examined the reactions of crabs to small electrical shocks, and their behavior after being shocked, to reach their conclusion.¬†Professor Bob Elwood’s earlier research revealed that crabs feel pain, but this latest study offers additional evidence of this conclusion.

Elwood said in a statement that he and his colleagues designed the experiment to differentiate between pain and a reflex phenomenon called nociception. According to Elwood, the job of pain is to help future evasion of the pain source, whereas nociception allows a reflex response that supplies immediate protection from the pain source, but no changes to long-term behavior. Elwood posited that whether or not crustaceans feel pain is still a widely debated topic.

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