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Mother-offspring relationship in the Neotropical burrowing crayfish Parastacus pilimanus (Von Martens, 1869) (Decapoda, Parastacidae)

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This study describes the mother-offspring behaviour in the South American burrowing crayfish Parastacus pilimanus (Von Martens, 1869), by testing the mother’s offspring-recognition abilities (and vice-versa) and the tolerance of a non-parental adult to juveniles. A female carrying first-instar juveniles was collected and acclimated in the laboratory. Daily observations of 20 min were made for six months after the juveniles were released. Five juveniles were randomly chosen weekly and measured. After 106 days of observation, we observed the female’s ability to recognize her own offspring, isolating her first for two hours and then for 1, 2, 5 and 30 days. The female did not show any aggressive behaviour towards the juveniles during the observation period (182 days). The juveniles were often observed together with their mother and walking under or over her, even after the isolation. However, they were never seen returning to the female’s pleopods. No juvenile was cannibalized during the entire experiment. Together these results suggest that this species possesses adaptations that allow for the overlapping of generations, including high tolerance of the mother.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratório de Carcinologia, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade Animal, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Centro de Ciências Naturais e Exatas, Roraima Avenue, 1000, Camobi, 97105-900 Santa Maria, RS, Brazil


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