Presentation Title

Effect of melanized spots on feeding behavior of the invasive species, Procambarus clarkii

Faculty Mentor

Lee B. Kats

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

Location

91

Session

poster 1

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

The ability to feed is vital for the survival of all living organisms. Presently, invasive red-swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, inhabit the freshwater streams of the local Santa Monica Mountains. P. clarkii are detrimental to these streams because they feed indiscriminately on larval forms of native amphibians and invertebrates fed on by native organisms. After surveying local streams, we observed multiple P. clarkii to have melanized spots on their tail and soft cuticle. Previous research observed that these melanized spots are a product of the “Crayfish Plague”. In addition, previous research found these observed spots to have no effect on P. clarkii viability. However, no study has looked at how melanized spots affects P. clarkii feeding behavior. Adversely, this study determined the effect of melanized spots on P. clarkii feeding behavior. We placed ten mosquito larvae in a sterilized container that individually housed a crayfish of melanized spots or of no melanized spots. At the end of our trials, we measured the survivorship of mosquito larvae in each container. We found that non-melanized crayfish ate significantly more mosquito larvae than melanized crayfish. The difference in feeding behavior between non-melanized crayfish and melanized crayfish was significantly different. Melanized spots on P. clarkii apparently limit overall fitness in this invasive species by decreasing feeding behavior, thereby potentially minimizing the detrimental effect it has on local biodiversity.

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Nov 23rd, 8:00 AM Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM

Effect of melanized spots on feeding behavior of the invasive species, Procambarus clarkii

91

The ability to feed is vital for the survival of all living organisms. Presently, invasive red-swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, inhabit the freshwater streams of the local Santa Monica Mountains. P. clarkii are detrimental to these streams because they feed indiscriminately on larval forms of native amphibians and invertebrates fed on by native organisms. After surveying local streams, we observed multiple P. clarkii to have melanized spots on their tail and soft cuticle. Previous research observed that these melanized spots are a product of the “Crayfish Plague”. In addition, previous research found these observed spots to have no effect on P. clarkii viability. However, no study has looked at how melanized spots affects P. clarkii feeding behavior. Adversely, this study determined the effect of melanized spots on P. clarkii feeding behavior. We placed ten mosquito larvae in a sterilized container that individually housed a crayfish of melanized spots or of no melanized spots. At the end of our trials, we measured the survivorship of mosquito larvae in each container. We found that non-melanized crayfish ate significantly more mosquito larvae than melanized crayfish. The difference in feeding behavior between non-melanized crayfish and melanized crayfish was significantly different. Melanized spots on P. clarkii apparently limit overall fitness in this invasive species by decreasing feeding behavior, thereby potentially minimizing the detrimental effect it has on local biodiversity.