New Scientist rocks like a crustacean with a new report on crab courtship dances:
In the dense submarine thickets of seagrass that blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) call home, males and females can’t easily rendezvous. Sending out a pheromone love letter helps the pair find one another, says Charles Derby, a marine biologist at Georgia State University in Atlanta, who with colleague Michiya Kamio has now investigated the behaviour.
Derby and other researchers had seen the male crabs dance in the wild. But to determine why the crustaceans perform the ritual, his team examined some of them in a small aquarium.
When a male and female crab shared a tank, males wasted little time. Within minutes, males scuttled over to the female and grasped her in preparation for mating. But when a divider separated the sexes, the males got creative.