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Behavioral Response of Invertebrates to Experimental Simulation of Pre-Seismic Chemical Changes

1
Department of Animal and Land Sciences, Hartpury College, Hartpury, Gloucester GL19 3BE, UK
2
Department of Life Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, East Rd, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marina von Keyserlingk
Animals 2015, 5(2), 206-213; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani5020206
Received: 21 February 2015 / Revised: 17 March 2015 / Accepted: 18 March 2015 / Published: 31 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Anomalies Prior to Earthquakes)
We exposed two invertebrates to hydrogen peroxide to mimic some of the conditions that occur before large earthquakes. Water fleas changed their position in an aquarium to avoid the hydrogen peroxide but earthworms appeared not to be affected and did not change position. We discuss this in the context of unusual animal behavior often seen before earthquakes.
Unusual behavior before earthquakes has been reported for millennia but no plausible mechanism has been identified. One possible way in which animals could be affected by pre-earthquake processes is via stress activated positive holes leading to the formation of hydrogen peroxide at the rock water interface. Aquatic and fossorial animals could be irritated by H2O2 and move down the concentration gradient. Here, we carry out avoidance tests with hydrogen peroxide in two model organisms; Daphnia pulex and earthworms. Daphnia were found to move away from increasing concentrations of H2O2 but earthworms appeared unaffected. It is possible that earthworm swarming behavior, reported frequently before earthquakes, is caused by electric field shifts or another unknown mechanism, whereas zooplankton may be affected by increasing levels of H2O2. View Full-Text
Keywords: earthquakes; animal behavior; Daphnia pulex; earthworms; hydrogen peroxide; positive holes earthquakes; animal behavior; Daphnia pulex; earthworms; hydrogen peroxide; positive holes
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Grant, R.A.; Conlan, H. Behavioral Response of Invertebrates to Experimental Simulation of Pre-Seismic Chemical Changes. Animals 2015, 5, 206-213.

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