Monitoring heart rate (HR) and ventilatory rate (VR) during defined sensory stimuli and during aggressive and submissive social interactions has provided additional information of a crayfish's physiological state which is not achieved by behavioral observations. In this study, the HR and VR of crayfish were monitored before, during and after the act of copulation in both heterosexual partners. The female crayfish abruptly reduces HR and VR during copulation but the male maintains HR and VR. After separation from copulation the female HR and VR are elevated, potentially paying back the O2 debt. The tight relationship with HR and VR in direction of change indicates a potential neural coupling. These physiological changes in cardiac and respiratory systems suggest an autonomic-like regulation of HR and VR. How these neuronal functions are driven and regulated remains to be determined. Olfactory cues from the female to the male during copulation may be reduced by the reduction in VR in the female. These studies offer experimental paradigms for future neuronal and pharmacological investigations into autonomic regulation of HR and VR as well as the neural circuitry involved.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Cooper, Richard M.; Finucane, Heidi Schapker; Adami, Megan; and Cooper, Robin L., "Heart and Ventilatory Measures in Crayfish During Copulation" (2011). Biology Faculty Publications. Paper 61.