The sensory basis to feeding behavior in the Caribbean spiny lobster Panulirus argus

Department of Biology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Marine and Freshwater Research (Impact Factor: 1.47). 01/2001; 52(8):1339-50. DOI: 10.1071/MF01099


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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    • "In order to compare our current knowledge on the similarities and differences between terrestrial C . clypeatus and aquatic P . argus and P . bernhardus , we can highlight the following points : • Aesthetascs in C . clypeatus are short and blunt compared to marine hermit crab species P . bernhardus and P . argus ( Ghiradella et al . , 1968a , b ; Derby et al . , 2001 ; Koczan , 2012 ; Krieger et al . , 2012 ; Tuchina et al . , 2014 ) ; number of aesthetascs varies , being the least in C . clypeatus ( 358 per antennula compared to 673 in P . bernhardus and 1255 in P . argus ) and the number of OSNs in C . clypeatus is less than in Frontiers in Neuroanatomy | www . frontiersin . org 10 July 2015 P . be"
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    ABSTRACT: The Coenobitidae (Decapoda, Anomura, Paguroidea) is a taxon of hermit crabs that includes two genera with a fully terrestrial life style as adults. Previous studies have shown that Coenobitidae have evolved a sense of spatial odor localization that is behaviorally highly relevant. Here, we examined the central olfactory pathway of these animals by analyzing central projections of the antennular nerve of Coenobita clypeatus, combining backfilling of the nerve with dextran-coupled dye, Golgi impregnations and three-dimensional reconstruction of the primary olfactory center, the antennular lobe. The principal pattern of putative olfactory sensory afferents in C. clypeatus is in many aspects similar to what have been established for aquatic decapod crustaceans, such as the spiny lobster Panulirus argus. However, there are also obvious differences that may, or may not represent adaptations related to a terrestrial lifestyle. In C. clypeatus, the antennular lobe dominates the deutocerebrum, having more than one thousand allantoid-shaped subunits. We observed two distinct patterns of sensory neuron innervation: putative olfactory afferents from the aesthetascs either supply the cap/subcap region of the subunits or they extend through its full depth. Our data also demonstrate that any one sensory axon can supply input to several subunits. Putative chemosensory (non-aesthetasc) and mechanosensory axons represent a different pathway and innervate the lateral and median antennular neuropils. Hence, we suggest that the chemosensory input in C. clypeatus might be represented via a dual pathway: aesthetascs target the antennular lobe, and bimodal sensilla target the lateral antennular neuropil and median antennular neuropil. The present data is compared to related findings in other decapod crustaceans.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Frontiers in Neuroanatomy
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    • "Mechanical and chemical receptors in decapods enable the recognition of potential prey and determine the ability of crabs to identify and capture their food (Derby et al. 2001; Graso and Basil 2002). These receptors may be located on the antennae where vibration sensors (Felgenhauer 1992) can detect microflows of water caused by prey movements, such as cladoceran swimming. "
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    ABSTRACT: Freshwater crabs are rarely represented in food webs and their role in these ecosystems has been largely ignored. Trichodactylus borellianus is an omnivorous crab species that has a diverse natural trophic spectrum. This paper evaluates, in a laboratory assay, the ability of three ages of this crab to prey on three different organisms. The prey selectivity and relative importance of each prey item was also analyzed. Prey items (cladocerans, oligochaetes, and golden mussels) consisted of organisms of different shapes and mobility, representing the natural diet of this crab. Crabs were sorted according to size (juvenile, sub-adult, and adult) and increasing amounts of one prey was offered to each crab after 24 hrs of starvation. In the selectivity trial, all prey types were offered in a fixed set. Crabs in all three age categories were able to prey on all organisms. Cladocerans and oligochaetes were consumed in greater quantities compared to golden mussels when offered separately. However, only the consumption of oligochaetes exhibited a positive correlation with the crabs’ size. When cladocerans and oligochaetes were offered together, more oligochaetes were consumed, both as percentage of volume and occurrence. Age-specific changes in consumption could be related to differences in the stomach capacity of the crab, the digestion time of each prey, and the predator–prey encounter probability. The selection of the most elongated prey with the lowest mobility indicated that the balance of the gain and loss of energy made it an advantageous species to prey on, as it was susceptible to predation. Additionally, the mussel, which is an invasive species, although not positively selected by T. borellianus in the present study, represented a new trophic resource for this crab.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of Freshwater Ecology
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    • "The aim of this experiment was to determine whether a behavioral response to chemical stimulation of a chemosensory organ of spiny lobsters changed following application of opaline or related treatments to that organ. As a measure, we used motor neuron activity associated with movement of the antennules in response to its chemical stimulation with a food chemical stimulus, because antennular movement is a reliable component of chemicalstimulated food-seeking behavior in spiny lobsters (Zimmer-Faust et al., 1984; Zimmer-Faust, 1987; Daniel and Derby, 1988; Derby et al., 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: Antipredator defenses are ubiquitous and diverse. Ink secretion of sea hares (Aplysia) is an antipredator defense acting through the chemical senses of predators by different mechanisms. The most common mechanism is ink acting as an unpalatable repellent. Less common is ink secretion acting as a decoy (phagomimic) that misdirects predators' attacks. In this study, we tested another possible mechanism - sensory inactivation - in which ink inactivates the predator's reception of food odors associated with would-be prey. We tested this hypothesis using spiny lobsters, Panulirus argus, as model predators. Ink secretion is composed of two glandular products, one being opaline, a viscous substance containing concentrations of hundreds of millimolar of total free amino acids. Opaline sticks to antennules, mouthparts and other chemosensory appendages of lobsters, physically blocking access of food odors to the predator's chemosensors, or over-stimulating (short term) and adapting (long term) the chemosensors. We tested the sensory inactivation hypotheses by treating the antennules with opaline and mimics of its physical and/or chemical properties. We compared the effects of these treatments on responses to a food odor for chemoreceptor neurons in isolated antennules, as a measure of effect on chemosensory input, and for antennular motor responses of intact lobsters, as a measure of effect on chemically driven motor behavior. Our results indicate that opaline reduces the output of chemosensors by physically blocking reception of and response to food odors, and this has an impact on motor responses of lobsters. This is the first experimental demonstration of inactivation of peripheral sensors as an antipredatory defense.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Journal of Experimental Biology
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