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How spiny lobsters make scary noises

8:56am, May 15, 2001

On an evolutionary tree, spiny lobsters sit near crickets. Yet musically, the crustaceans belong closer to a person torturing a violin.

Crickets make the sound track for summer by rubbing a hardened scraper, against a patch of ridges. One of the insects forewings carries the scraper and the other has the ridges. In the May 10 Nature, Sheila N. Patek of Duke University in Durham, N.C., reports that spiny lobsters rely on an entirely different mechanism to generate their raspy racket.

People grappling with spiny lobsters above and under water have gotten an earful of the creatures harsh rasping sounds. Its very abrasive, Patek says.

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