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Courtship Rituals

Crayfish Mating

Crayfish mate in the early spring and females carry the fertilized, developing eggs inside their bodies for 4 to 6 weeks. These developing eggs are then transferred to the outside of the female’s body and glued with a sticky substance called “glair” to the female’s tail. The eggs then hatch by the end of spring.

One of the more interesting facts about crayfish copulation is that it is preceded by a relatively unusual courtship ritual.  Females release a steady stream of urine in order to attract a mate. Their urine is an aphrodisiac, attracting numerous males.  When males approach the female she responds aggressively, fighting the males in a quest to find the most fit one to mate with.  The female only stops resisting if the male can flip her over so that he can deposit his sperm on her underside.  (Photo by Owen Astbury)

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