Researchers at the University of Hull, UK, recently published a paper about chemical signaling in reproductive behavior in crayfish. Yep, crayfish. Apparently, the female must release urinary cues in order to initiate courtship behavior in males. No pee, no sex. Unfortunately (and understandably), being peed on also triggers aggression in this species. The authors argue the female crayfish use their influential bodily fluids to stimulate aggression in males to gauge size and strength in prospective mates, allowing the females to choose the fittest males for subsequent copulation.
In male-female pairings, the authors blocked urine release or introduced urine from other females to show the effect on reproduction and aggression.
Curious about what’s on their heads? The authors blindfolded the little guys to prevent disturbance by visual stimuli. While not for the crayfish-lover, the methods section of this paper is pretty amazing! Read it here.
Here’s a little video action:
The following video has been rated PG-13 for sexual content and violence. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Contrary to popular belief, crayfish pee is not fluorescent green. The researchers used a dye injection to visualize the bathroom behaviors of their subjects.
Although this study provides additional data on chemical signals in reproductive behaviors, it has also provided us here at Zooillogix with some new ideas to incorporate into our crayfish races. Dat shit’s gonna get crazy now.