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A comparison of antennule structure in a surfaceand a cave-dwelling crayfish, genus Orconectes (Decapoda, Astacidae)

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Crayfish show many behavioral and morphological adaptations that serve to exploit chemical information in an aquatic environment. The primary chemosensory structure, the outer branch of the antennule, varies morphologically among species. A reasonable approach to the study of these variations is to compare morphological structures from crayfish living in different environments. The potential of this approach was evaluated by comparing the morphology and distribution of chemosensory sensilla (aesthetascs) along antennules of a cave- and a surface-dwelling crayfish. In comparison to the surface-dwelling species (Orconectes cristavarius), the cave-dwelling species (O. australis packardi) had longer antennules and longer individual aesthetasc sensilla. The surface species, however, had significantly more aesthetascs per annulus and a higher density of aesthetascs towards the distal end of the antennule. These data are discussed in terms of chemical sensitivity and chemoreception in turbulent environments.

Les écrevisses présentent des adaptations comportementales et morphologiques qui servent à exploiter l'information chimique dans un environnement aquatique. La structure chémosensible primaire, la rame externe de l'antennule, varie morphologiquement suivant les espèces. Une approche raisonnable de l'étude de ces variations est de comparer les structures morphologiques des écrevisses vivant dans différents environnements. Le potentiel de cette approche a été évalué en comparant la morphologie et la répartition des sensilles chémosensibles (aesthétasques) sur les antennules d'une écrevisse vivant en eaux de surface et d'une écrevisse vivant en eaux souterraines. Par rapport à l'espèce de surface (Orconectes cristavarius), l'espèce de grotte (O. australis packardi) avait de plus longues antennules et de plus longs aesthétasques. L'espèce de surface, cependant, avait significativement plus d'aesthétasques par anneau et une densité plus élevée d'aesthétasques vers l'extrémité distale de l'antennule. Ces données sont discutées en termes de sensibilité chimique et de chémoréception dans les environnements turbulents.


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