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Humping Crayfish

"A great name for a band." -- Dave Barry

No, seriously, there's a report
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061121/sc_nm/science_crayfish_dc_2


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Like dogs mounting one another or rolling onto their backs, crayfish act out elaborate rituals of dominance and submission, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

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They said it was the first time an invertebrate species had been seen to display such "humping" behavior, common in higher animals.

It appears to work, defusing tensions that might otherwise lead to a fight, Fadi Issa and Donald Edwards of Georgia State University, report in this week's issue of the journal Current Biology.

"We found that crayfish display such a complex ritual, when two males engaged in pseudocopulatory behavior to signify their dominance relationship," they wrote.

"This was followed by a reduction in aggression and an increased likelihood of the subordinate's survival."

Lower-ranking crayfish that did not go along with another male's overtures were "killed, dismembered and partially eaten," the researchers wrote.
...
The behavior was most common when two strange males first met, and appeared to defuse tensions after a few days.

"These effects are similar to those of copulation between male and female crayfish, and such copulation can also begin with an aggressive encounter and has been seen as an extension of male dominance behavior. Moreover, if the female refuses the male's attempts to mate, she can be killed."

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