Ecological Research

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 53–59 | Cite as

Morphological asymmetry and behavioral laterality in the crayfish, Procambarus clarkii

  • Shoko Tobo
  • Yuichi TakeuchiEmail author
  • Michio Hori
Original Article


Lateral asymmetry is found widely among vertebrates, but is scarcely observed in invertebrates. Here, morphological asymmetry and behavioral laterality of a wild crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, was investigated. The carapace morphology of crayfish showed left–right differences; in some, the right side of the carapace was larger than the left side, while in others, the left side was larger. A bimodal distribution in the direction of escape behaviors induced by a tactile stimulus was also observed. Experimental crayfish were definitively divided into two groups: individuals that frequently jumped leftward (right type) and those that jumped rightward (left type). Moreover, carapace asymmetry and lateralized escape responses were significantly correlated. These results suggest that crayfish exhibit left–right dimorphism in natural populations. The ecological advantages and maintenance mechanisms underlying these behaviors are also discussed.


Laterality Escape behavior Crustacean Morphological asymmetry 



We deeply appreciate Yasuhiro Takemon and members of the Aquatic life study group of Mizorogai-ke pond for permission and help with sampling. Hiroshi Ashiwa, Tomohiro Takeyama, Masaki Yasugi for help with daily care of crayfish. And other all members of Animal Ecology Laboratory for advice and inspired discussion throughout this research. This study was partly supported by JSPS research fellowships to S.T. and Y.T., the Grant for the Biodiversity Research of the 21st Century COE (A14), the Global Center of Excellence Program “Formation of a Strategic Base for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Research: from Genome to Ecosystem” and Grants-in-aid of Scientific Research on Priority Areas (#14087203) of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Animal Ecology, Division of Biological Science, Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Biological Science, Graduated School of ScienceNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

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