Developmental Neuroethology: Changes in Escape and Defensive Behavior During Growth of the Lobster

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Science  12 Aug 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4304, pp. 682-685
DOI: 10.1126/science.197.4304.682


The changes in relative efficacy of two incompatible behaviors was investigated during growth of the lobster, Homarus americanus. In larval and early juvenile stages, physiological and morphological factors favor use of the escape response over defensive behavior. In large animals, defensive behavior is preferred almost exclusively to escape behavior unless the claws are lost. The interaction of escape and defensive behavior is modified by neural and morphological factors, which are dependent on the stage in the life cycle of the organism.