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Crustacean Social Behavioral Changes in Response to Isolation

Robert Hemsworth, Wil Villareal, Blair W. Patullo and David L. MacMillan
Biological Bulletin
Vol. 213, No. 2 (Oct., 2007), pp. 187-195
DOI: 10.2307/25066634
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25066634
Page Count: 9
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Crustacean Social Behavioral Changes in Response to Isolation
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Abstract

Periods of isolation during which animals have no social contact are common in the design of behavioral experiments. They are used, for example, to test memory and recognition responses, or to ensure a baseline condition before experimental manipulations commence. We investigated the effect of isolation periods on the aggressive behavior of matched pairs of the crayfish Cherax destructor in two contexts. The first experiment tested the effects of a period of isolation between two encounters. The second experiment tested the effects of isolation before an encounter by pairing one crayfish from a communal living environment with another crayfish from an isolated one. Fight outcome and aggression levels were analyzed, resulting in three conclusions about the social biology of C. destructor. First, encounters between familiar opponents are influenced by the outcome of the familiarization fight for about 2 weeks. Second, the level of aggression and the outcome of an encounter are affected over different time frames. Third, individuals that are isolated before an encounter can be disadvantaged. These data suggest that isolation, or events that occur during periods of isolation, affect multiple elements of social behavior in C. destructor. This suggestion has implications for the interpretation of previous results and future studies in crustaceans and other taxa.

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