Olfactory Sampling Recovery Following Sublethal Copper Exposure in the Rusty Crayfish, Orconectes rusticus

  • Sara E. Lahman
  • Paul A. Moore


Increasing levels of anthropogenic chemicals within an aquatic ecosystem may inhibit animals from extracting information from chemical signals. We investigated whether antennular flicking, a behavioral mechanism involved in chemically-mediated behaviors of the rusty crayfish, Orconectes rusticus, was altered following a sublethal copper exposure (450 µg/L). Crayfish exposed to copper exhibited lower flicking rates than control crayfish and were significantly less successful in their ability to orient to a food odor. Copper was then eliminated from the housing tanks, providing a recovery period. Groups of crayfish were assayed for antennular flicking rates and orientation success three times over the course of the 21 day recovery period. Crayfish demonstrated significant increases in rates of successful localization of odors and antennular flicking during this portion of the experiment. These results indicate that the mechanism by which copper impairs chemoreception in the rusty crayfish is reversible if elevated levels of copper concentrations are eliminated from aquatic ecosystems contaminated by runoff from agricultural or aquacultural chemicals.


Olfactory sampling recovery Sublethal toxicity Copper Orconectes rusticus Crayfish 



We would like to thank members of the Laboratory for Sensory Ecology for their aid in manuscript review and Dr. Rachelle M. Belanger of the University of Detroit Mercy for the use of analytical software. This research was supported by the Larry and Linda Oman Graduate Research in Ecology and Environmental Biology Scholarship and the Mary Ellen Mazey Women In Science Fellowship awarded to SE Lahman.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Sensory Ecology, Department of Biological SciencesBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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