CZAAWE Resource Article

Responses of cambarid crayfish to predator odor
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Journal of Chemical Ecology
The responses of individuals of four sympatric species of cambarid crayfish to the introduction of the odor of a common predator, the snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina, were recorded in the laboratory. Adult Orconectes virilis spent significantly more time in a lowered posture and reduced the frequency of nonlocomotory movements following introduction of snapping turtle odor but showed no change in behavior upon introduction of the odor of painted turtle (Chrysemys picta). Recently released young O. virilis did not respond to snapping turtle odor initially but did so after turtle odor and conspecific alarm odor had been paired. Individuals of O. propinquus did not respond to snapping turtle odor. Initial tests with O. rusticus did not yield any response to snapping turtle odor but after experience with paired turtle and alarm odor, individuals showed a decrease in nonlocomotory movements when just snapping turtle odor was introduced. Individuals of Cambarus robustus spent less time in the lowered posture, less time in their burrow, and more frequently executed nonlocomotory movements, in response to snapping turtle odor. The differences in responses to the odor of a common predator are correlated with ecological differences among the crayfish species.