Male horseshoe crabs Limulus polyphemus use multiple sensory cues to locate mates


The use of multisensory cues to locate mates can increase an organism's success by acting as a back-up plan when one system fails, by providing additional information to the receiver, and by increasing their ability to detect mates using senses that have different ranges in a variable aquatic environment. In this contribution we review the sensory cues that male horseshoe crabs Limulus polyphemus are known to use when locating mates and then provide new data that shed light on this subject. During the breeding season, females migrate into shore during high tides to spawn. Males attach to females as they approach the beach or are attracted to pairs already spawning. Vision is well established as an important cue in attracting males. Although chemoreception is well known in other marine arthropods, and horseshoe crabs have the anatomy available, there are few studies on chemical cues in this species. Experiments are presented here that provide evidence for chemical cue use. We show that the attraction, and retention, of attached and satellite males to actively spawning females and mating pairs involves multimodal cues [Current Zoology 56 (5): 485-498, 2010].


Biological Sciences

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Current Zoology


Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences

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© 2010 Current Zoology