Wolf, M.C. *; Moore, P.A.: Affects of the Herbicide Metolachlor on Perception of Chemical Stimuli by Crayfish, Oroconectes rusticus.
Previous research has suggested that certain environmental pollutants interfere with the perception of chemical stimuli. It is not clear if the interference lies in masking the odor in the water itself or if there is a physiological effect on the olfactory receptor cells that can influence the behavior of the animal. In this study we exposed crayfish to the agricultural chemical Metolachlor in an acute fashion. We subsequently tested the ability of the crayfish to perceive and respond appropriately to two chemical stimuli important to their survival, detection of damaged conspecifics and location of food resources. Results indicate that the behavior of exposed crayfish toward odor is detrimentally changed. We conclude that there is an affect on the ability of crayfish to perceive chemical signals after being exposed to the chemical Metolachlor and that this affect could alter the ecology of this organism.