Crustacean brain may process pain.
Until recently many researchers believed the crustacean nervous system too primitive to process pain. But scientists at Queen’s University in Belfast now think that crustaceans may be more sensitive to pain than previously thought. The researchers used crabs as their test animals. And they found that crabs that experienced an electric shock when they hid under a safe, dark rock would eventually learn to avoid the hiding place. And that avoidance is key: the animals’ ability to remember the unpleasant shock and avoid it is consistent with the ability to feel and remember pain. If the behavior was merely a reflex, the critters would continue to visit the shelter.