Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 198, Issue 9, pp 669–681 | Cite as

Micro-scale fluid and odorant transport to antennules of the crayfish, Procambarus clarkii

  • Swapnil Pravin
  • DeForest MellonJr.
  • Matthew A. Reidenbach
Original Paper


A numerical model was developed to determine advective–diffusive transport of odorant molecules to olfactory appendages of the crayfish, Procambarus clarkii. We tested the extent of molecule transport to the surfaces of aesthetasc sensilla during an antennule flick and the degree of odorant exchange during subsequent flicks. During the rapid downstroke of a flick, odorant molecules are advected between adjacent aesthetascs, while during the slower return stroke, these odorants are trapped between the sensilla and molecular diffusion occurs over a sufficient time period to transport odorants to aesthetasc surfaces. During subsequent flicks, up to 97.6 % of these odorants are replaced with new odorant molecules. The concentration of molecules captured along aesthetasc surfaces was found to increase with increased gap spacing between aesthetascs, flick speed, and distance from the proximal end of the aesthetasc, but these changes in morphology and flicking kinematics reduce the animal’s ability to take discrete samples of the odorant-laden fluid environment with each flick. Results suggest that antennule flicking allows discrete sampling of the time- and space-varying odorant signal, and high concentration odorant filaments can be distinguished from more diffuse, low concentration filaments through changes in both the timing and the encounter rate of odorant molecules to aesthetasc surfaces.


Chemosensing Crayfish Olfaction Aesthetasc Diffusion 



This research was supported by a National Science Foundation grant NSF-CBET-0933034. We thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments that improved the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Swapnil Pravin
    • 1
  • DeForest MellonJr.
    • 2
  • Matthew A. Reidenbach
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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