Investigating Crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) Aggression and How it Varies with Resource Availability

Students: Allie Smith and Rebecca Lipster
Mentor: Shala Hankison (OWU Department of Zoology)

Animals that express agonistic behavior toward one another are prone to recognizing hierarchical status among individuals. Recognizing status has proven to be evolutionarily advantageous for crayfish (Orconectes rusticus) because it allows dominant individuals to maximize resources and permits subordinate individuals to steer clear of potentially costly battles. More specifically, two crayfish experiencing aggression can generally determine who the dominant and subordinate individuals are in a fight. A higher social status within a social hierarchy can allow for increased access to differing resources, such as food, mates, and shelter. In this experiment, we want to see if limiting resources will affect aggression levels in crayfish. To do this, we limited food availability and shelter availability and measured crayfish aggression over several rounds of interaction. While we did not find that resource availability affected crayfish aggression we did find that status does affect crayfish aggression.

More information about this project in Digital Commons @ OWU

Contact Info


Merrick Hall
65 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3075

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