Golden showers, crayfish style!

Researchers at the University of Hull, UK, recently published a paper about chemical signaling in reproductive behavior in crayfish. Yep, crayfish. Apparently, the female must release urinary cues in order to initiate courtship behavior in males. No pee, no sex. Unfortunately (and understandably), being peed on also triggers aggression in this species. The authors argue the female crayfish use their influential bodily fluids to stimulate aggression in males to gauge size and strength in prospective mates, allowing the females to choose the fittest males for subsequent copulation.

In male-female pairings, the authors blocked urine release or introduced urine from other females to show the effect on reproduction and aggression.


"But, honey, I thought you liked water sports!"

Curious about what's on their heads? The authors blindfolded the little guys to prevent disturbance by visual stimuli. While not for the crayfish-lover, the methods section of this paper is pretty amazing! Read it here.

Here's a little video action:
The following video has been rated PG-13 for sexual content and violence. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

Contrary to popular belief, crayfish pee is not fluorescent green. The researchers used a dye injection to visualize the bathroom behaviors of their subjects.

Although this study provides additional data on chemical signals in reproductive behaviors, it has also provided us here at Zooillogix with some new ideas to incorporate into our crayfish races. Dat shit's gonna get crazy now.

More like this

This is quite possibly the most awesome biology photo ever taken. It is two blind-folded crayfish battling each other in clouds of fluorescent green urine. It's a good thing it's just a picture, because if it were a video, in 3D, with the Star Trek fight music playing in the background, every…
I rather like this illustration I ran across in some reading. It's a bit risqué, and reminded me of some ukiyo-e…the kind of thing you don't usually expect to find in a biology journal. This line drawing was made from a photograph of a male H. lunulata (shaded) copulating with a female. The arrow…
On the one hand, this is a strange tale of mutant, bisexual, necrophiliac flies, and you've got to love it for the titillating nature of the experiments. But on the other, much more interesting hand, it's a story about drilling down deeply into the causes of a complex behavior, and tracing it to a…
In this post from April 06, 2006, I present some unpublished data that you may find interesting. Understanding the role of serotonin in depression has led to development of anti-depressant drugs, like Prozac. Much of the research in this area has been performed in Crustaceans: lobsters and…