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Lobsters Quarantine the Sick

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posted on May, 26 2006 @ 09:11 AM

Creatures Quarantine Sick

Lobsters are skilled marine medics able to diagnose sickness in their neighbours, scientists have found.

The creatures not only detect a lethal virus before it produces any symptoms, but also quarantine those infected by cutting them off from the rest of the group.

Researchers made the discovery while observing Caribbean spiny lobsters off the coast of Florida in the US.

Exactly how the crustaceans manage to play doctor is a mystery, but it is thought they may "smell" chemical signals from lobsters that are ill.


What a fascinating discovery...

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 01:11 PM
I didn't read the article but my question is: if they can smell the sickness, how do they get themselves sick in the first place? That's kinda like me being able to smell the cold virus on a door handle. Do I go ahead and use the handle anyway? I would think not.

Cool data nontheless.

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 03:13 PM
Thanks for posting that. Being a big lobster eater, as well as preservationist, here in Miami, I love learning more about them. I actually got very serious food poisoning from a lobster when I was younger. Maybe I got one of the outsiders in the group.


posted on May, 26 2006 @ 03:42 PM
Wow, wouldnt it be great if we could develop tech from this? A virus detector or something. I reckon all of our 'how to's' can be found in nature. Imagine gecko tech! Gecko's sticking powers revealed

Scientists have, for the first time, identified the mechanism allowing geckos to defy gravity and are using the discovery to develop a new type of adhesive.
Similarly, using Fearing's device, it was shown that pulling away is not enough to disengage. The strength of attachment is so strong that a single gecko hair, could bend the aluminum wire. In fact, a researcher said, "a single hair could lift an ant, while a million hairs covering an area the size of a dime could lift a small child of about 45 pounds".

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 05:39 PM
Dae you should post that story in another thread, thats amazing too.

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 05:51 PM
I read a terrific sf story about lobsters years ago, they are supposedly very intelligent creatures. The story hypothesised the use of lobsters in space in small self contained habitats. Wish i could remember the name of the author as im sure you would enjoy it. I will keep wracking my brain.


posted on May, 26 2006 @ 06:45 PM
I bet the lobsters put off a distress hormone, when they're sick or injured, that the others can smell. Adaptation to encourage breeding with only healthy individuals maybe?

As to how the lobsters got sick, if they can smell sickness, my guess is that the lobsters don't smell the sickness, exactly, but the difference in the smell of the sick lobsters. Maybe it's a function of the immune system (the lobsters smell the response to disease), or maybe it's a function of the reproductive system.

Cool stuff, in any case. This could be very useful for diagnosing sickness in farm raised lobsters - if the mechanism can be identified. Then, you could either detect it artificially, or employ lobsters to detect it for you.

Very nifty...

And what's this about lobsters in space?

Did the author propose using them as switch operators, or food, or what?

[edit on 26-5-2006 by WyrdeOne]

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 06:52 PM
Hi wyrde one, yeh certainly found it strange when i read the story probably why i picked it up in the first place. I believe it was a story by gordon dickson or phillip dick, i am still looking. I believe the base of the story was that the lobsters were able to operate instrumentation in the habitat and then be rewarded with food ? something along those lines. From memory it was also stated that they were able to pick up chemical signals from the water, and i believe that their intelligence has long been accepted in marine biology circles, though im no expert.


posted on May, 26 2006 @ 06:57 PM

Originally posted by infinite8
Maybe I got one of the outsiders in the group.

Now you know why they pushed that poor guy into the trap to be caught!

That's really interesting info though. I will make sure to keep an eye out on those grocery store tanks for now on, to see if I can ever see this happening. I always carry my camera on me, so I'll be on the lookout. Of course, just by a picture it could be debunked as, "the lobster was just on the other side of the aquarium," but I wonder how much we have actually seen of this without realizing what they were doing.

posted on May, 26 2006 @ 08:08 PM
how bizzarre, while looking for the lobster in space story i came across another one that i had completely forgotted dealing with lobster migrations. The story -Homefaring by Robert Silverberg, a great read if you ever get the chance.

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 10:13 AM
Another interesting tidbit is that lobsters mate for life.

As much as I love the taste of lobster, I stopped eating it after I began to discover that they possesed intelligence beyond what they are given credit for.

posted on May, 27 2006 @ 10:17 AM
Since we are on the subject of lobsters, here is an interesting story about a new spiecies of lobster discovered in the south pacific.

Furry Lobster Found

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