JSU Student Symposium 2020
Analysis of the Aversive: The Impact of Negative Chemical Stimuli on Faxonius erichsonianus Fighting Behavior



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Sarah Wofford, Biology


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Houston Cole Library, 11th Floor | 10:45-10:55 a.m.


Crayfish rely significantly on their ability to detect and decipher odor cues in their environment to make important ecological decisions. For example, crayfish regularly engage in contests with conspecifics to accrue resources. While these contests are important, they can potentially leave individuals vulnerable to predation. Adequate predator and alarm odor identification is crucial for prey organisms and can be regarded as a key process responsible for increased chance of prey survival. To determine if alarm cues from conspecifics affect Faxonius erichsonianus fighting behavior, crayfish were exposed to alarm or predator odors during a staged dyadic interaction. Animals were first socially isolated for one week to eliminate past social effects. For trials, individuals were placed in a divided 40 cm x 40 cm Plexiglas fight arena. Dividers remained in place during a 15 minute acclimation period and were removed at the beginning of a 15 minute fight trial. Control trials took place solely in pre-conditioned tap water, while alarm odor trials incorporated water containing the scent of a deceased conspecific and the predator odor treatment contests integrated the scent of predatory fish into the arena. All trials were video recorded and analyzed for fight duration and maximum behavioral intensity. We predicted that the introduction of alarm and predator odors into the fight arena would reduce the occurrence of fights as well as their overall intensity. The implication that crayfish are equally impacted by conspecific alarm odor and predator odor means that detection of these chemical cues plays an important role in their survival. However, a pronounced difference in behavioral outcome for alarm and predator odor means that these signals are not as ecologically relevant to the prey organism as fighting behavior.


student presentations, student papers, crayfish, social behavior


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Presentation Information

Blair, R. (2020, 14 February). Analysis of the aversive: The impact of negative chemical stimuli on Faxonius erichsonianus fighting behavior. Poster presented at the 2020 JSU Student Symposium, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL.

Analysis of the Aversive: The Impact of Negative Chemical Stimuli on Faxonius erichsonianus Fighting Behavior