23 Jul 2004

When Is a Decapod Not a Decapod?

Dear Blue Lobster:

I cant believe it Chomper ripped off bloodreds arm, I hope it grows back, bloodred is acting normal, I didnt even seem to scare her when it came off any thoughts?

Dear Gentle Sir:

Crayfish, like most other aquatic crustaceans, have the ability to lose a limb without suffering dire consequences. In times of danger, stress, or anxiety crays can drop limbs off at will and so what happened to your cray's arm was actually a defensive move on her part. Long periods of depression in decapods like shrimp, crabs, and crays can also result in a seemingly random loss of limbs. Scientists have studied this ability for decades.

With the advent of DNA research, the ability to drop limbs at will has been isolated to the brachioperditis gene in the decopod family. Experiments in turning the brachioperditis gene off have resulted in crays who can no longer drop limbs under duress; likewise, other tests where the effect of the brachioperditis is intensified have resulted in crays that can remove their heads for short periods of time. Scientists desire to eventually splice the brachioperditis gene into humans.

After your cray's next molt a smaller version of her old arm should return that will grow with subsequent molts. In the meantime, she may experience what's known as phantom pain, a condition where an acute ache in the missing limb can be felt. Use an eye dropper to deliver painkillers, such as morphine, in liquid form to the cray until her next molt and all should be well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

do i get this pain killer, "morphine" from a vet or what?

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