Crayfish (Cherax destructor) use Tactile Cues to Detect and Learn Topographical Changes in Their Environment
Article first published online: 25 DEC 2001
Volume 106, Issue 3, pages 247–259, March 2000
How to Cite
Basil, J. and Sandeman, D. (2000), Crayfish (Cherax destructor) use Tactile Cues to Detect and Learn Topographical Changes in Their Environment . Ethology, 106: 247–259. doi: 10.1046/j.1439-0310.2000.00524.x
- Issue published online: 25 DEC 2001
- Article first published online: 25 DEC 2001
When placed in a rectangular aquarium (arena) containing no objects, blindfolded freshwater crayfish (Cherax destructor) explore by walking along the walls of the arena. Animals taken from their home tanks and placed in the arena for a 40-min trial each day habituate and exhibit a reduction in their exploratory activity over 4 trials, despite their lack of continuous exposure to the arena. Dishabituation (i.e. an immediate increase in exploratory activity) occurs when animals were placed in the arena after the introduction of short partitions projecting at right angles from the walls. The dishabituation was interpreted as indicating that the animal can detect differences in the spatial configuration of the arena topography. Using dishabituation as a measure, we found that animals responded not only to the presence or absence of the partitions but also to changes in the position of the partitions. Animals with immobilized or lesioned second antennae no longer responded to configurational changes in the spatial arrangement of the partitions in the arena. We conclude that Cherax destructor relies upon the tactile input from its second antennae to detect topographical changes in the environment and that such topographical changes can be retained for at least 24 h. For an organism that forages in and defends a home territory on a daily basis, this seems to be an ecologically relevant time scale.