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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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