Odor-mediated Behavioral Responses of Hatchery-reared Blue Swimming Crab Portunus pelagicus (Malacostraca, Decapoda) Instars Exposed to Various Chemical Cues

Anne Brigette B. Ledesma1* and Harold M. Monteclaro1

1Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanology, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences,
University of the Philippines Visayas, Miagao, Iloilo 5023 Philippines

*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



In this study, the ability of hatchery-reared blue swimming crab Portunus pelagicus instars to discriminate various odors was tested in a y-maze aquarium using the following chemical cues: 1) mussel odor, 2) snapper odor, 3) combination of mussel and snapper odors, and 4) seawater as control. Results showed that when given a choice between seawater and mussel odor, a higher percentage of instars preferred to stay along the mussel odor stream. In contrast, avoidance response was elicited when snapper odor was introduced to crab instars. When provided with a choice between mussel odor and snapper odor, the instars exhibited preference to the former. However, when presented with a combination of two conflicting odors (mussel and snapper odors), the crab instars favored to stay in the control chamber. These results suggest that even at its early developmental stage, blue swimming crab instars are highly responsive and can distinguish food from alarm odors, such as those odors coming from perceived potential predators. This study is important in understanding the behavioral capacities of hatchery-reared animals, their responses when released to a new and harsh environment, and possible applications of these behaviors in enabling restocking programs feasible.

Key words: alarm odor, chemoreception, decision-making, stock enhancement



Decision-making in animals and considerations on benefits and trade-offs play a significant role in animal behavioral ecology. In many aquatic communities, chemical cues from a predator can greatly influence the fitness of a prey (Ferrari et al. 2010). Where the transmission of an acoustic or visual stimulus is limited, the presence or even the size of a predator may be chemically perceived through differing cues or the concentrations of cue release (Chivers et al. 2001). Therefore, understanding predator threat assessment is essential to predict consequences for prey survival and other indirect effects. . . . . read more



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