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The sensory basis of feeding behaviour in the Caribbean spiny lobster, Panulirus argus

Mar. Freshwater Res 01/2001; 52:1339-50. DOI: 10.1071/MF01099

ABSTRACT A complex nervous system enables spiny lobsters to have a rich behavioural repertoire. The present paper discusses the ways in which the sensory systems of the Caribbean spiny lobster, Panulirus argus , particularly its chemosensory systems, are involved in feeding behaviour. It addresses the neural mechanisms of three aspects of their food-finding ability: detection, identification, and discrimination of natural food odours; the effect of learning on responses to food odours; the mechanisms by which spiny lobsters orient to odours from a distance under natural flow conditions. It demonstrates that the olfactory organ of spiny lobsters might use across-neuron response patterns in discriminating odour quality; that the hedonic value of food can be modified by experience, including associative and nonassociative conditioning; that spiny lobsters can readily orient to distant odour sources; and that both chemo-and mechanosensory antennular input are important in this behaviour. Either aesthetasc or nonaesthetasc chemosensory pathways can be used in identifying odour quality, mediating learned behaviours, and permitting orientation to the source of distant odours. Studying the neuroethology of feeding behaviour helps us understand how spiny lobsters are adapted to living in complex and variable environments.

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