Chemical communication and chemoreception in the Dungeness crab, Cancer magister, and the lined shore crab, Pachygrapsus crassipes Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/th83m153f

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  • Great importance has been attributed to the visual aspects of sexual communication in semi-terrestrial crabs and although P. crassipes may utilize visual signals, pheromones and chemotactile signals are important in the release of mating behavior. In the subtidal C. magister pheromones seem to mediate both courtship and mating behavior. Visual input, however, is also necessary for the release of courtship related behavior and tactile or chemotactile signals may be necessary for the consumation of mating. Crustecdysone and its more "polar" metabolite function as mating pheromones in P. crassipes. Crustecdysone may also serve as a chemotactile releaser of mating when the crabs are out of the water. Foam bathing may be the mechanism by which this steroid is spread over the exoskeleton of the crabs. Crustecdysone has low pheromonal activity in C. magister but its more polar metabolites may function as the pheromone. Precopulatory behavior may be released by a neutral or negatively charged metabolite and mating may be released by the positively charged metabolite. The functional and evolutionary significance of crustecdysone as the sex pheromone is discussed. The sex pheromones and crustecdysone inhibit the feeding responses in both species of crabs. This appears to be a centrally mediated phenomenon occurring perhaps in the medulla terminalis ganglia and represents a simple form of integration of two stimuli. The effects of inhibition persist after removal of the pheromone of crustecdysone stimuli. Feeding responses in crabs are also inhibited on exposure to dopaquinones and naphthaquinones. The transitory effects, however, indicate that the inhibition is peripheral.
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