Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 147, Issue 4, pp 455–459 | Cite as

Effect of morphine and naloxone on a defensive response of the mantis shrimp (Squilla mantis)

  • Héctor Maldonado
  • Antonio Miralto


The mantis shrimpSquilla mantis responds to an electrical shock with a quick and violent flexure of its body (Fig. 1 and 2). The reaction time of this defensive response was measured for each experimental shrimp and the minimal current that elicited a reaction time equal to or lesser than 0.22 s was considered as its intensity threshold (Fig. 3). Different doses of morphine-HCl were injected and results showed that this drug produces a dose-related analgesia by increasing the intensity threshold. A concentration of morphine equal to 30.0 μg/mm of animal length (about 91.0 μg/g) causes a 50% inhibition in the sensitivity to the electrical stimulus, but the effect is fully blocked by naloxone (Table 2).

The present study represents the first behavioral analysis of opiate effects in invertebrates. However, the effective dose reported in this experiment is far greater than that used with vertebrates. Some speculative arguments are mentioned in order to account for a such large difference.


Reaction Time Morphine Effective Dose Naloxone Electrical Shock 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Héctor Maldonado
    • 1
  • Antonio Miralto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurobiologyStazione ZoologicaNapoliItaly

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