In the present study, we performed behavioral analyses of the habituation of backward escape swimming in the marbled crayfish, Procambarus fallax. Application of rapid mechanical stimulation to the rostrum elicited backward swimming following rapid abdominal flexion of crayfish. Response latency was very short—tens of msec—suggesting that backward swimming is mediated by MG neurons. When stimulation was repeated with 10 sec interstimulus intervals the MG-like tailflip did not occur, as the animals showed habituation. Retention of habituation was rather short, with most animals recovering from habituation within 10 min. Previous experience of habituation was remembered and animals habituated faster during a second series of experiments with similar repetitive stimuli. About half the number of stimulus trials was necessary to habituate in the second test compared to the first test. This promotion of habituation was observed in animals with delay periods of rest within 60 min following the first habituation. After 90 min of rest from the first habitation, animals showed a similar time course for the second habituation. With five stimuli at 15 min interval during 90 min of the rest, trained animals showed rapid habituation, indicating reinforcement of the memory of previous experiments. Crayfish also showed dishabituation when mechanical stimulation was applied to the tail following habituation.
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Vol. 33 • No. 1