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PLoS One. 2008 Feb 27;3(2):e1695. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001695.

Crayfish recognize the faces of fight opponents.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

The capacity to associate stimuli underlies many cognitive abilities, including recognition, in humans and other animals. Vertebrates process different categories of information separately and then reassemble the distilled information for unique identification, storage and recall. Invertebrates have fewer neural networks and fewer neural processing options so study of their behavior may reveal underlying mechanisms still not fully understood for any animal. Some invertebrates form complex social colonies and are capable of visual memory-bees and wasps, for example. This ability would not be predicted in species that interact in random pairs without strong social cohesion; for example, crayfish. They have chemical memory but the extent to which they remember visual features is unknown. Here we demonstrate that the crayfish Cherax destructor is capable of visual recognition of individuals. The simplicity of their interactions allowed us to examine the behavior and some characteristics of the visual features involved. We showed that facial features are learned during face-to-face fights, that highly variable cues are used, that the type of variability is important, and that the learning is context-dependent. We also tested whether it is possible to engineer false identifications and for animals to distinguish between twin opponents.

PMID:
18305823
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2257977
Free PMC Article
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