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Influence of flow velocity on motor behavior of sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus

Pan, Yang, Zhang, Libin, Lin, Chenggang, Sun, Jiamin, Kan, Rentao, Yang, Hongsheng
Physiology & behavior 2015 v.144 pp. 52-59
Apostichopus japonicus, cameras, computer software, water flow
The influence of flow velocity on the motor behavior of the sea cucumber, Apostichopus japonicus was investigated in the laboratory. Cameras were used to record sea cucumber movements and behavior analysis software was used to measure the distance traveled, time spent, upstream or downstream of the start position and the speed of movements. In general, the mean velocity of A. japonicus was below 0.7mms−1. The maximum velocity recorded for all the sea cucumbers tested was for a large individual (89.25±17.11g), at a flow rate of 4.6±0.5cms−1. Medium sized (19.68±5.53g) and large individuals moved significantly faster than small individuals (2.65±1.24g) at the same flow rate. A. japonicus moved significantly faster when there was a moderate current (4.6±0.5cms−1 and 14.7±0.3cms−1), compared with the fast flow rate (29.3±3.7cms−1) and when there was no flow (0cms−1). Sea cucumbers did not show positive rheotaxis in general, but did move in a downstream direction at faster current speeds. Large, medium and small sized individuals moved downstream at the fastest current speed tested, 29.3±3.7cms−1. When there was no water flow, sea cucumbers tended to move in an irregular pattern. The movement patterns show that the sea cucumber, A. japonicus can move across the direction of flow, and can move both upstream and downstream along the direction of flow.