Previous studies suggest that urine-borne pheromones play an important role in lobster agonistic and sexual behaviour. This paper investigates the pattern of urine release in catheterised, but otherwise freely moving, adult lobsters with respect to feeding, social and non-social activities. Lobsters on average released 4.1 ml (1 % of body mass) of urine over a 12 h period; this more than doubled to 10.6 ml over the 12 h period after feeding. Hourly monitoring revealed that most urine was released in the first hour after feeding (2.84 ml). With the exception of the first hours after feeding, urine release was intermittent, with pauses lasting up to 17 h. The probability of urine release per hour in unfed lobsters was 0.34 (median); this value increased during agonistic interactions elicited by the introduction of a conspecific (median 0. 63) and during activity initiated by non-social disturbance (median 0.56). Mean urine volume during output hours in unfed lobsters amounted to 1.09 ml h-1. This volume was significantly increased by the presence of a conspecific (1.88 ml h-1) and decreased during activity initiated by non-social disturbances (0.56 ml h-1). No sex-specific differences in urine release were found. The data demonstrate that lobsters control their urine release in a manner dependent on behavioural context. This supports recent findings suggesting the use of urine for chemical signalling in agonistic interactions.
Urine release in freely moving catheterised lobsters (Homarus americanus) with reference to feeding and social activities
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T. Breithaupt, D.P. Lindstrom, J. Atema; Urine release in freely moving catheterised lobsters (Homarus americanus) with reference to feeding and social activities. J Exp Biol 1 April 1999; 202 (7): 837–844. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.202.7.837
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