In a world full of chemicals, many crustaceans rely on elaborate olfactory systems to guide behaviors related to finding food or to assess the presence of conspecifics and predators. We analyzed the responses of the isopod Saduria entomon to a range of stimuli by which the animal is likely to encounter in its natural habitat using a Y-maze bioassay. In order to document the efficiency of the experimental design, the same bioassay was used to test the behavior of the crayfish Procambarus fallax whose ability to track odors is well documented. The crayfish performed well in the Y-maze and were able to locate the source of a food-related odor with high fidelity. The isopod S. entomon reacted indifferently or with aversion to most of the stimuli applied. In 1800 trials, only four out of 15 different stimuli yielded statistically significant results, and only one odorant was found to be significantly attractive. The findings raise several questions whether the stimuli presented and/or the experimental setup used represents an ecologically relevant situation for S. entomon. In each instance, our experiments illustrate that established methods cannot be readily transferred from one species to another.
Keywords: Isopoda • Saduria entomon • Decapoda • crayfish • olfaction • behavior • flow channel