Heart rate measures in blind cave crayfish during environmental disturbances and social interactions

Hao Li, Laura R. Listeman, Devan Doshi, Robin L. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Most animals continually assess the environment in which they live and alter their behavior according to various stimuli. As an observer, one looks for changes in a behavior indicating that an animal responded to a particular event. When the animal does not make significant behavioral changes as measured by bodily movements, the animal may be characterized as unresponsive to a given stimulus. This study demonstrates that when behavioral body movements can not be observed an internal physiological measure of heart rate (HR) shows dramatic changes following presentation of defined stimuli. This study used the blind cave crayfish and examined their responsiveness to the following stimuli: light (infrared, dim red, and white), water-borne vibrations, removal of water, olfactory cues, and social interaction with partners. This study demonstrates that there is substantial individual variation of HR at basal levels and with the intensity of an social interaction. We find HR is a reasonable measure of the responsiveness of blind cave crayfish to given stimuli even in the absence of observable behavioral changes. This enables the observer to determine if an individual is responsive to and making an assessment of particular cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-70
Number of pages16
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2000

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Appreciation is given to Dr Hilary Lambert Hopper for editorial assistance. Funding was provided by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute undergraduate training fellowship (L.R.L.), NSF-REU (L.R.L.), and NSF grants IBN-9808631 & ILI DUE-9850907 (R.L.C.). This paper is dedicated to the late Cathy Crockett, who was a nationally recognized ecologically minded caver.


  • Cave
  • Crayfish
  • Crustacean
  • Heart rate
  • Interactions
  • Social status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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