Document Type

Student Research Paper


Spring 2022

Academic Department


Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Anya Goldina


The invasive crayfish Faxonius rusticus has invaded multiple watersheds throughout Pennsylvania and the country. Current trapping methods are time consuming, labor intensive, and ineffective. Because crustaceans produce and utilize pheromones to communicate social status and mating condition, baited pheromone traps might serve as an effective alternative to the current trapping methods. The aim of this study was to examine if F. rusticus can distinguish between pheromones produced by conspecifics during breeding and non-breeding seasons. Previous research in our lab showed that during the breeding season females prefer male pheromones, but that preference disappears during the non-breeding season. We collected pheromones from male and female F. rusticus during breeding and non-breeding seasons. Collected pheromones were combined to create stocks; female breeding, female non-breeding, male breeding, and male non-breeding. Sexually mature F. rusticus were exposed to breeding and non-breeding pheromone stocks of opposite sex by pumping the pheromones through the arms of a Y-maze. The preference of the individual was determined based on which arm of the maze it selected and spent more time in. Findings suggest that during the non-breeding season mature crayfish do not exhibit a preference for pheromone type, breeding or non-breeding. There was no difference in pheromone preference between males and females; neither sex exhibited preference for opposite sex pheromones from the either breeding or non-breeding season. Understanding how pheromones are used by crayfish is essential to developing effective methods for eradication of invasive species.


Honors Senior Thesis; Honors in the Discipline; Scholarship and Creative Arts Day (SCAD)

Included in

Biology Commons