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5:39pm, August 24, 2011

Fiddler claws are cool
The storied, supersized claw of the male fiddler crab, a weapon of war and a lure in love, appears also to serve the prosaic function of keeping the males from cooking themselves while they’re out on the sand fighting and flirting. Males fiddlers grow one claw so large that waving it around is an athletic event and eating with it is basically impossible. Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin studied heat transfer in natural and declawed crabs of the Uca panacea species . The experiments, reported in the September American Naturalist, show that the monster claw may help in thermoregulation by radiating heat away from the crab during long stints on the sand. —Susan Milius

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