Student Research Paper
Dr. Anya Goldina
The invasive crayfish Faxonius rusticus has invaded most watersheds in Pennsylvania, spreading throughout the Northeastern United States. Existing methods to regulate F. rusticus populations have been ineffective. Because crayfish communicate chemically through pheromones, understanding what information these pheromones carry can help improve trapping methods. The aim of this study was to determine how F. rusticus respond to chemical signals produced by same and opposite sex conspecifics during breeding and non-breeding seasons. Previous studies in our lab have shown that when presented with a choice of either a pheromone or a water control, during both breeding and nonbreeding season, female F. rusticus are attracted to pheromones produced by males. Males however avoid signals of conspecific males, and do not show preference for female signals. In this study, we utilized a Y-maze to present F. rusticus with a choice of male or female conspecific pheromone simultaneously, during breeding and nonbreeding seasons. Our findings show that females prefer male conspecific pheromones during breeding season, but do not exhibit a preference during the non-breeding season. Males F. rusticus’ entered the arm of the maze with female pheromones more often during the breeding season, but that response was not statistically significant. In conclusion, females showed a preference for opposite-sex conspecific pheromones and avoided same-sex pheromones during the breeding season, but neither males nor females showed a preference for either pheromone during non-breeding seasons.
Luscavage, Elizabeth, "Female Invasive Crayfish Faxonius Rusticus Prefer Pheromones of Conspecific Males During the Breeding Season" (2021). Biology: Student Scholarship & Creative Works. 16.