Motor activity of Daphnia magna (Crustacea, Cladocera) during thermal selection: Peculiarities of search reactions in the non-uniform environment

Keywords: behaviour reactions; ultimate temperature preferendum; temperature gradient; acclimation


We conducted a study of the peculiarities of the motor activity of juvenile and adult individuals of Daphnia magna in the process of thermal selection. On the example of Daphnia, we experimentally proved the assumption that the decrease in the motor activity of the ectotherms in the selected temperature range is a behaviour mechanism typical for thermal selection. The experiment was conducted on the offspring of one parthenogenetic female (pure line) of a laboratory culture maintained over several years at room temperature. The Daphnia individuals had been beforehand acclimated over several generations to 23.4 ºС, and then were placed in a thermogradient apparatus. The control individuals were maintained at room temperature. The final temperature preference was determined using the so-called "chronic" method, when the tested organisms are maintained in a thermogradient apparatus over several days. The positions of the Daphnia individuals were recorded daily during 24 days. As a parameter which would characterize the motor activity of Daphnia, we used the parameter of average relative shifting, which was calculated as a difference (in cm) between the position they were found in two sequential records, divided by time (in min) between these records. Over the first 3 days, in the conditions of the temperature gradient, the Daphnia mostly selected heightened temperatures (24–28 ºС). During the period from the 4th to 24th day, 74% of the Daphnia selected the range of 18–23 ºС and 85% – 17–24 ºС. Thus, the range of the ultimate selected temperatures decreased by 4 ºС compared to the initially selected temperatures and enlarged by 3 ºС towards the lower temperatures. In the thermogradient apparatus, the parthenogenetic females had the lowest value of the mean relative movement. In the control, at room temperature, this parameter of the adults was by 43% higher compared to the gradient. The pattern of the dynamic of the indicator in both variants of the experiment was similar for the periods and phases of fluctuations. With the juveniles the value of the parameter of mean relative shifting in the gradient was higher by 40% compared to the adult Daphnia, but close to the parameter of the adults in the control. We determined a relationship between the juveniles selecting the higher temperatures and higher mean relative shifting, which indicates a relationship between the behavioural selective reaction of juvenile Daphnia and general physiological condition of their organism. During the absence of the temperature gradient, the Daphnia were observed to show symmetry in their motor reaction. Occurrence of the asymmetry of the motor reaction of the Daphnia in the condition of the thermogradient, manifesting in the prevalence of shifting to lower or higher temperatures, can indicate more clearly manifested search reaction in the condition of a non-uniform environment.


Andrew, R. J. (2009). Origins of asymmetry in the CNS. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, 20, 485–490.

Andrew, R. J., Dharmaretnam, M., Györi, B., Miklosi, A., Watkins, J. A. S., & Sovrano, V. A. (2009). Precise endogenous control of involvement of right and left visual structures in assessment by zebrafish. Behavioral Brain Research, 196, 99–105.

Bardach, J. E., & Bjorklung, R. G. (1957). The temperature sensitivity of some American freshwater fishes. American Naturalist, 91, 233–251.

DeWitt, C. B., & Fridman, R. M. (1979). Significance of skewness in ectotherm thermoregulation. American Zoology, 19, 195–209.

Espína, S., Díaz, F. H., & Bückle, L. F. R. (1993). Preferred and avoided temperatures in the crawfish Procambarus clarkia (Decapoda, Cambaridae). Journal of Thermal Biology, 18, 35–39.

Fraenkel, G. S., & Gunn, D. L. (1961). The orientation of animals. Kineses, taxes and compass reactions. Dover Publications Inc., New York.

Gautrais, J., Jost, C., Soria, M., Campo, A., Motsch, S., Fournier, R., Blanco, S., & Theraulaz, G. (2009). Analyzing fish movement as a persistent turning walker. Journal of Mathematical Biology, 58(3), 429–445.

Gerritsen, J. (1982). Behavioral response of Daphnia to rate of temperature change: Possible enhancement of vertical migration. Limnology and Oceanography, 27, 254–261.

Golovanov, V. K. (2013). Temperaturnyye kriterii zhiznedeyatel'nosti presnovodnykh ryb [Temperature criteria for vital activity of freshwater fish]. Polygraph-Plus, Moscow (in Russian).

Gorska-Andrzejak, J., & Wojtusiak, J. (2003). A comparative study of the level of locomotor activity throughout postembryonic development of two cricket species: Acheta domesticus L. and Gryllus bimaculatus De Geer (Ensifera: Gryllidae). Journal of Insect Behavioral, 16(6), 845–857.

Jury, S. H., & Watson, W. H. III. (2000). Thermosensitivity of the lobster, Homarus americanus, as determined by cardiac assay. Biological Bulletin, 199, 257–264.

Izvekov, E. I., & Nepomnyashchikh, V. A. (2013) Asymmetry of the behavioral response in roach Rutilus rutilus (L.) (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) to a new object. Inland Water Biology, 6(4), 68–73.

Kivivuori, L. A. (1983). Temperature acclimation of walking in the crayfish Astacus astacus L. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, 75A, 375–378.

Kivivuori, L. A. (1994). Temperature selection behaviour of cold and warm-acclimated crayfish (Astacus astacus (L.). Journal of Thermal Biology, 19, 291–297.

Lagerspetz, K. Y. H., & Vainio L. A. (2006). Thermal behaviour of crustaceans. Biological Review, 1, 1–22.

Mazokhin-Porshnyakov, G. A., & Kartsev, V. M. (1979). Izucheniye posledovatel'nosti obleta nasekomymi neskol'kikh ravnotsennykh pishchevykh ob’yektov (k voprosu o strategii ikh vizual'nogo poiska) [Study of the sequence of flying by insects to several equivalent food objects (to the question of the strategy of their visual search)]. Zoological Journal, 58(9), 1281–1289 (in Russian).

Mckenzie, J. D., Clow, P., Clyde, J., Miles, A., Dickinson, R., Lieb, W. R., & Franks, N. P. (1992). Effects of temperature on the anaesthetic potency of halothane, enflurane and ethanol in Daphnia magna (Cladocera: Crustacea). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part C. Comparative Pharmacology and Toxicology, 101, 15–19.

McLeese, D. W., & Wilder, D. G. (1958). The activity and catchability of the lobster (Homarus americanus) in relation to temperature. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, 15(6), 1345–1354.

Miklosi, A., Andrew, R. J., & Gasparini, S. (2001). Role of right hemifield in visual control of approach to target in zebra fish. Behavioural Brain Research, 122, 57–65.

Miklosi, A., & Andrew, R. J. (1999). Right eye use associated with decision to bite in zebrafish. Behavioural Brain Research, 105, 199–205.

Miklosi, A., Andrew, R. J., & Savage, H. (1997). Behavioural lateralisation of the tetrapod type in the zebrafish (Brachydanio rerio). Physiology and Behavior, 63, 127–135.

Nepomnyashchikh, V. A. (2000). Izmenchivost' reaktsii na zritel'nyy razdrazhitel' u zolotykh rybok Carassius auratus L. (Cyprinidae: Pisces) [The variability of the reaction to the visual stimulus in goldfish Carassius auratus L. (Cyprinidae: Pisces)]. Journal of General Biology, 61(2), 315–324 (in Russian).

Nepomnyashchikh, V. A., & Gremyachikh, V. A. (1993). Svyaz' mezhdu strukturoy trayektorii i asimmetriyey vybora napravleniya dvizheniya u tilyapii Oreochromis mossambicus Peters (Cichlidae) [The relationship between the structure of the trajectory and the asymmetry of the direction of motion in tilapia Oreochromis mossambicus Peters (Cichlidae)]. Journal of General Biology, 54(5), 619–626 (in Russian).

Nepomnyashchikh, V. A., & Izvekov, E. I. (2007). Laterality of behavioral responses in bony fishes: Inheritance, adaptive importance, and morphofunctional correlates. Journal of Ichthyology, 47(9), 782–790.

Reynolds, W. W., & Casterlin, M. E. (1979a). Behavioral thermoregulation and activity in Homarus americanus. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. 65A, 25–28.

Reynolds, W. W., & Casterlin, M. E. (1979b). Behavioral thermoregulation and the "final preferendum" paradigm. American Zoologist, 19, 211–224.

Romanovsky, A. V., Pesnya, D. S., Izvekov, E. I., Krylov, V. V., & Nepomnyashchy, V. A. (2014). Povedeniye samtsov Danio rerio Hamilton posle vozdeystviya imitatsii magnitnoy buri na ikh embriony [Behavior of the male Danio rerio Hamilton after the impact of imitation of a magnetic storm on their embryos]. Biophysics, 59(6), 1151–1156 (in Russian).

Rosetti, Y., Rosetti, L., & Cabanac, M. (1989). Annual oscillation of preferred temperature in the freshwater snail Lymnaea awicularia: Effect of light and temperature. Animal Behaviour, 37(6), 897–907.

Steffel, S., Dizon, A. E., Magnuson, J. J., & Neill, W. H. (1976). Temperature discrimination by captive tree-swimming tuna, Euthynnus affinis. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 105(5), 588–591.

Takeuchi, Y., Hori, M., Myint, O., & Kohda, M. (2010). Lateral bias of agonistic responses to mirror images and morphological asymmetry in the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens). Behavioural Brain Research, 208(1), 106–111.

Udalova, G. P., & Karas, A. Y. (1985). Asimmetriya napravleniya dvizheniya u murav'yev Myrmica rubra pri obuchenii v labirinte [Asymmetry of the direction of motion of the Myrmica rubra ants when training in a labyrinth]. Journal of Higher Nervous Activity I. P. Pavlova, 35(2), 377–379 (in Russian).

Udalova, G. P., & Karas, A. Y. (1986). Asimmetriya napravleniya dvizheniya u murav'yev Myrmica rubra pri obuchenii v labirinte v usloviyakh pishchevoy motivatsii [Asymmetry of the direction of movement of Myrmica rubra ants when training in a labyrinth in conditions of food motivation]. Journal of Higher Nervous Activity I. P. Pavlova, 36(4), 707–714 (in Russian).

Udalova, G. P, Karas, A. Y., & Zhukovskaya, M. I. (1990). Asimmetriya napravleniya dvizheniya u gammarusov (Gammarus oceanicus) v teste otkrytogo polya [Asymmetry of the direction of movement in gammarus (Gammarus oceanicus) in the open field test]. Journal of Higher Nervous Activity I. P. Pavlova, 40(1), 93–101 (in Russian).

Vallortigara, G., & Bisazza, A. (2002). How ancient is brain lateralization? Comparative vertebrate lateralization. The evolution of brain lateralization. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Pp. 9–69.

Verbitskii, V. B., & Verbitskaya, T. I. (2012). Thermal preference and avoidance in cladoceran Daphnia magna Strauss (Crustacea, Cladocera) acclimated to constant temperature. Biological Bulletin, 39(1), 93–98.

Wang, G., & Greenfield, M. D. (1994). Ontogeny of territoriality in the desert clicker Ligurotettix coquilletti (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Journal of Insect Behavior, 7, 327–342.