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Individual Culturing of Tigriopus Copepods and Quantitative Analysis of Their Mate-guarding Behavior

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Copepods of the genus Tigriopus, which are common zooplankton in rocky tide pools, show precopulatory mate-guarding behavior where a male clasps a potential mate to form a pair. While this phenomenon has attracted interest of researchers, methods for its analysis have not been well described. Here we describe procedures for: 1) individual culturing and staging of Tigriopus juveniles and adults, and 2) video-based analysis of their mate-guarding behavior. The culturing method enables experimental control of paring experience of animals as well as the ability to track their development before behavioral tests. The analysis method allows quantitative evaluation of several aspects of the mate-guarding behavior, including capturing attempts by males and swimming trajectory of mate-guarding pairs. Although these methods were originally established for ethological studies on Tigriopus, with proper modifications they can also be applied to studies of other zooplankton in different research fields, such as physiology, toxicology, and ecological genetics.

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