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Primer and short-range releaser pheromone properties of premolt female urine from the shore crab Carcinus maenas

  • Mattias Ekerholm
  • Eric Hallberg
Publishing year: 2005
Language: English
Pages: 1845-1864
Publication/Series: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Volume: 31
Issue: 8
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Springer

Abstract english

The European shore crab Carcinus maenas is considered to rely on a female pheromone when mating. Evidence, however, is scarce on how the urine pheromone in itself affects males. We investigated male primer and releaser responses to female pheromones with methods that minimized effects from females, delivering female urine either as a pump-generated plume or deposited on a polyurethane sponge. We delivered the pheromone at different concentrations in far, near, and close/contact range to get a picture of how distance affects behavioral response. Our results show that substances in premolt female urine (PMU) function as primer and potent short-range releaser pheromones. Based on the olfactometer and sponge tests, we conclude that PMU stimulus in itself is sufficient to elicit increased search and mating-specific behaviors such as posing, posing search, cradle carrying, and stroking. Pheromone concentrations do not seem to be important for attenuating search and posing as long as the level is above a certain threshold concentration. Instead, pheromone levels seem to play a role in male acceptance of females, recruiting more males to respond, and generating better responses with increasing concentration.


  • Zoology
  • urine pheromone
  • sex
  • communication
  • chemical
  • olfaction
  • green crab
  • shore crab
  • Carcinus maenas
  • Crustacea
  • primer
  • releaser
  • scaling
  • lek
  • hot spot


  • ISSN: 1573-1561
Eric Hallberg
E-mail: eric [dot] hallberg [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Professor emeritus

Functional zoology

+46 46 222 46 78