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First evidence of underwater sounds emitted by the living fossils Lepidurus lubbocki and Triops cancriformis (Branchiopoda: Notostraca)

G. Buscaino*, M. Ceraulo, D. E. Canale, E. Papale, F. Marrone

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ABSTRACT: Sound is the most effective means of communication in marine and freshwater ecosystems. However, no data about acoustic emissions from non-malacostracan crustaceans are currently available, so their ability to produce sounds is unknown. For the first time, this study investigates the sound produced by two tadpole shrimp species, Triops cancriformis and Lepidurus lubbocki. L. lubbocki individuals were collected from a natural temporary pond in Sicily (Italy), whereas T. cancriformis individuals were obtained from eggs contained in sediment from a rock pool in Sardinia (Italy). In the laboratory, experimental tanks with the animals (one species per time) were acoustically monitored. Both species produced high-frequency wideband pulses distinguishable by their sound pressure level, which was higher in L. lubbocki (146 dB) than in T. cancriformis (130 dB), and by their first and second peak frequencies, which were higher in L. lubbocki (65 and 86 kHz) than in T. cancriformis (63 and 71 kHz). The energy distributions in the power density spectra showed different shapes, as revealed by the 3 dB bandwidth and centre frequency. The pulse durations were 88 and 97 µs in L. lubbocki and T. cancriformis, respectively. L. lubbocki presented a higher emission rate than T. cancriformis and a marked circadian pattern, with a higher abundance of sounds during the night. This study reports the first evidence of sound emissions from non-malacostracan crustaceans and reveals the high potential of passive acoustic monitoring to detect the presence, abundance and life cycle of these elusive keystone species of temporary water bodies.