Crayfish of the species Orconectes virilis inhabit two distinct types of hydrodynamic environments: lakes and rivers. Odor cues in these habitats convey chemical information differently due to dispersion by different physical processes. In the laboratory we examined orientation strategies of crayfish collected from lake and river habitats to an odor source dispersed in either a lotic (river) or lentic (lake) manner. Our results showed lake crayfish had variable responses under both flow regimes whereas river crayfish oriented similarly under both flow regimes. Lake crayfish increased walking speeds, decreased heading angles, and decreased turn angles while orienting under lotic versus lentic conditions. Conversely, river crayfish oriented similarly under both flow regimes and reflected lake crayfish behavior in lotic flow. We conclude lake and river crayfish show differences in their orientation strategies due to influences from sensory signals in their source habitat. These results show crayfish show behavioral plasticity with respect to the hydrodynamic and signal structure from their native environments and may be an example of sensory bias.
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