Male-like behavioral patterns and physiological alterations induced by androgenic gland implantation in female crayfish

Assaf Barki, Ilan Karplus, Isam Khalaila, Rivka Manor, Amir Sagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The androgenic gland (AG) has been shown to regulate male sexual differentiation and secondary male characteristics in Crustacea. This study presents for the first time in crustaceans evidence for masculinization effects of the AG on reproductive behavior, in addition to morpho-anatomical and physiological effects. AG implantation into immature female red claw crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus inhibited secondary vitellogenesis and development of the ovaries, as well as morphological traits that facilitate maternal egg brooding; it also caused the appearance of secondary male characteristics. However, primary male characteristics and a masculine reproductive system were not developed. In pair encounters, aggression was substantially lower in interactions between AG-implanted and intact females than in interactions within AG-implanted or intact pairs. Moreover, elements of mating behavior, i.e. male courtship displays and false copulations, were exhibited by AG-implanted females in several encounters with intact females. In addition to known morpho-anatomical and physiological effects of the AG in crustaceans, the present study suggests that the AG has novel effects on the neural network that generates social behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1791-1797
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2003


  • Aggression
  • Agonistic behavior
  • Androgenic gland
  • Androgenic hormone
  • Cherax quadricarinatus
  • Crayfish
  • Crustacea
  • Decapoda
  • Fighting
  • Mating behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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