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The response to disturbance chemicals and predator odours of juvenile and adult signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus (Dana)

Lookup NU author(s): Paul Stebbing, Dr Gordon Watson, Emeritus Professor Matt Bentley


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Many species of crayfish have been shown to use disturbance chemicals to detect the presence of predators and other dangers, yet there have been no investigations in adults or juveniles of Pacifastacus leniusculus, a key species, particularly for invasive species study. Juveniles and adults were exposed to conditioned water from stressed and damaged conspecific males. Both responded to these odours, but did not respond to water from stressed or damaged males with blocked nephropores. Urine from stressed and damaged males also elicited a significant response, which was much stronger than that of conditioned water. Odours from urine and water of damaged individuals induced a greater response than stress odours. We propose that chemicals released by stressed or damaged Pa. leniusculus are the same substance, but quantities released in the urine vary in context-specific circumstances. Predator-odour conditioned water from Perca fluviatilis elicited no response, but conditioned Anguilla anguilla water stimulated significant responses in juveniles and adults. Juveniles exhibited the strongest responses to all odours. These results show that Pa. leniusculus utilises both conspecific and heterospecific sources of info-chemicals to assess risk in the environment, which may contribute to its success as an invasive species and give it a competitive advantage.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stebbing PD, Watson GJ, Bentley MG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology

Year: 2010

Volume: 43

Issue: 3

Pages: 183-195

Print publication date: 01/05/2010

ISSN (print): 1023-6244

ISSN (electronic): 1029-0362

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd.


DOI: 10.1080/10236244.2010.487301


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Funder referenceFunder name
EIT 30-05-12English Nature and the Environment Agency