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Acute fluoxetine exposure alters crab anxiety-like behaviour, but not aggressiveness

Faculty Advisor




aggression, cognitive neuroscience, neurophysiology

Abstract (summary)

Aggression and responsiveness to noxious stimuli are adaptable traits that are ubiquitous throughout the animal kingdom. Like vertebrate animals, some invertebrates have been shown to exhibit anxiety-like behaviour and altered levels of aggression that are modulated by the neurotransmitter serotonin. To investigate whether this influence of serotonin is conserved in crabs and whether these behaviours are sensitive to human antidepressant drugs; the striped shore crab, Pachygrapsus crassipes, was studied using anxiety (light/dark test) and aggression (mirror test) paradigms. Crabs were individually exposed to acute doses of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, fluoxetine (5 or 25 mg/L), commonly known as Prozac®, followed by behavioural testing. The high dose of fluoxetine significantly decreased anxiety-like behaviour but had no impact on mobility or aggression. These results suggest that anxiety-like behaviour is more sensitive to modulation of serotonin than is aggressiveness in the shore crab.

Publication Information

Hamilton T., Kwan G., Gallup J., & Tresguerres M. (2016). Acute fluoxetine exposure alters crab anxiety-like behaviour, but not aggressiveness. Scientific Reports, 6:19850. doi:10.1038/srep19850


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Attribution (CC BY)