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Sex identification in female crayfish is bimodal
- Aquiloni, Laura, Massolo, Alessandro, Gherardi, Francesca
- Naturwissenschaften 2009 v.96 no.1 pp. 103-110
- Procambarus clarkii, communications technology, crayfish, females, males, smell, vision
- Sex identification has been studied in several species of crustacean decapods but only seldom was the role of multimodality investigated in a systematic fashion. Here, we analyse the effect of single/combined chemical and visual stimuli on the ability of the crayfish Procambarus clarkii to identify the sex of a conspecific during mating interactions. Our results show that crayfish respond to the offered stimuli depending on their sex. While males rely on olfaction alone for sex identification, females require the combination of olfaction and vision to do so. In the latter, chemical and visual stimuli act as non-redundant signal components that possibly enhance the female ability to discriminate potential mates in the crowded social context experienced during mating period. This is one of the few clear examples in invertebrates of non-redundancy in a bimodal communication system.