Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Health Sciences (M.H.S.)

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Daniel A. Bergman

Second Advisor

Arthur L. Martin III

Third Advisor

Cynthia Thompson


In numerous species, social interactions play a key role in deciding the allocation of resources. Aggression is a tactic that crayfish utilize to become dominant, which allows them to acquire higher quality resources. Many studies of aggression and agonistic interactions have used crayfish because they are known to be innately aggressive and are quick to become involved in agonistic interactions that may escalate into fighting. The primary objective of this study is to elucidate the relationship between differing food resources and their effect on aggression of crayfish. It is hypothesized that increased desirability for the food resource will induce more aggressive interactions to obtain it. Trials were conducted with two different crayfish species - Orconectes propinquus and Orconectes rusticus - in collaboration with Saginaw Valley State University. Only male crayfish were used for the trials. They were exposed to six different food sources and allowed to interact to observe their behaviors. Crayfish interactions were analyzed using an ethogram to grade intensity levels. It appeared the crayfish valued Fluker’s® turtle diet and Meijer® farm raised tilapia in comparison to the other resources provided based on the average duration spent in contact with the food bag and average duration spent at higher intensity levels. This may be due to the increased crude protein and fat in these foods when compared to the other resources. These two species appear to value more protein and fat and will interact at higher intensity levels during agonistic interactions to obtain them.

Included in

Life Sciences Commons