Date of Submission

Spring 2012

Academic Program

Biology

Project Advisor 1

Felicia Keesing

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Aggression and competition have been studied previously in lobsters and some species of crayfish. This is the first study, however, to examine the effect of sex on conspecific aggression and resource competition between males and females in Orconectes virilis. Size-matched, same- and mixed-sex pairs of crayfish were placed in experimental encounters. Their aggressive interactions were recorded and the dominant individual determined by observation. A shelter was then introduced to simulate resource competition. The individual to maintain possession of the shelter the most over seven hours was termed the dominant shelter holder. These results were analyzed for significance between same and mixed sex pairs, and between sexes within the mixed pairs, for whether aggressive dominance translated to a competitive advantage over shelters. Significant differences were not seen between males and females during aggression encounters, but were seen between male same-sex, female same-sex, and mixed-sex pairs during shelter competition. These findings contribute to and are consistent with previous crayfish research. Further research should be conducted to determine whether sex affects aggression between O. virilis conspecifics, as this could aid in understanding of agonism and crayfish population dynamics, particularly in the context of crayfish invasion biology.

Distribution Options

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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