28 January 2024

Neculae and colleagues 2024

Neculae A, Barnett ZC, Miok K, Dalosto MM, Kuklina I, Kawai T, Santos S, Furse JM, Sîrbu OI, Stoeckel JA, Pârvulescu L. 2024. Living on the edge: Crayfish as drivers to anoxification of their own shelter microenvironment. PLOS ONE 19(1): e0287888. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0287888


Burrowing is a common trait among crayfish thought to help species deal with adverse environmental challenges. However, little is known about the microhabitat ecology of crayfish taxa in relation to their burrows. To fill this knowledge gap, we assessed the availability of oxygen inside the crayfish shelter by series of in-vivo and in-silico modelling experiments. Under modeled condition, we found that, except for the entrance region of the 200 mm, a flooded burrow microenvironment became anoxic within 8 h, on average. Multiple 12-hour day-night cycles, with burrows occupied by crayfish for 12 h and empty for 12 h, were not sufficient for refreshing the burrow microenvironment. We then examined the degree to which crayfish species with different propensities for burrowing are tolerant of self-created anoxia. From these experiments, primary and secondary burrowers showed best and most consistent tolerance—exhibiting ≥ 64% survival to anoxia and 25–91% survival of ≥ 9 h at anoxia, respectively. Tertiary burrowers exhibited little to no tolerance of anoxia with 0–50% survival to anoxia and only one species exhibiting survival (2%) of ≥ 9 h at anoxia. Results suggest that moderate to strongly burrowing crayfish can quickly draw down the dissolved oxygen in burrow water but appear to have conserved a legacy of strong tolerance of anoxia from their monophyletic ancestors–the lobsters–whereas tertiary burrowers have lost (or never evolved) this ability.

Keywords: None provided.

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