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What If These Lobsters Can Conga!

Caribbean Spiny lobsters have found a way to make the most out of their mass migrations by making what looks like conga lines as they march into the sea.


What: Caribbean spiny lobsters make one of the craziest migrations on the planet... and scientists are curious to know why!

Who: It's not just nurse sharks and groupers who gobble up Caribbean spiny lobsters, humans love eating Caribbean spiny lobsters, too!

When: Scientists hypothesize that Caribbean spiny lobsters line up to start their conga line migration from shallow to deeper waters right after the first fall storm because the following fall storms will make the shallow waters too cold and turbulent for the Caribbean spiny lobsters to thrive.

Where: Caribbean spiny lobsters live in mangrove swamps and coral reefs and conga across the Caribbean Sea, but also out into the Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina to Brazil.

How: How many Caribbean spiny lobsters can form a single, conga-migration line? 65!

Why: There are at least two reasons Caribbean spiny lobsters form a conga line to migrate: 1) the single-file line reduces drag on the lobsters as they cut through the currents of the water which allows the lobsters to conserve energy during their migration and 2) the conga line creates a form of protection from predators looking for a single-serving of Caribbean spiny lobster. Can you think of any other advantages Caribbean spiny lobsters acquire from their adaptation?

Huh?: The conga line isn't the only thing about the Caribbean spiny lobsters that can be confusing at first sight: the Caribbean spiny lobster is also a clawless lobster!

Wow!: While scientists think they know why Caribbean spiny lobsters migrate when they do, they still aren't 100% certain; pretty wild to think how much we still have to discover!

Thanks for getting curious about animal abilities and adaptations with the Butt-Breathing Turtle. Keep getting curious about animals with The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and its free Educator's Guide!


Thank you for your curiosity, stay curious, and let your curiosity lead your learning with more Curiosity-Based Learning content and activities from What If Curiosity!






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