LESCA stands for Laboratory of Sensory Ecology and Behavior of Arachnids in Portuguese. It was founded in 2009, being one of the research laboratories at the School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities of the University of São Paulo, in Southeastern Brazil. Our research interests include the sensory ecology and the behavior of arthropods, with emphasis in arachnids. 

Our projects on sensory ecology investigate the relevant environmental stimuli, the sensory structures that detect such stimuli, and the behavioral responses of animals in several contexts such as foraging, mate finding, mate choice, general orientation in the environment and behavioral response to predators. We use mainly three approaches:

  1. Behavioral: we use the descriptive and experimental methods, both in the laboratory and in the field.
  2. Morphological: we study sensory and glandular structures using optical and electronic microscopes.
  3. Chemical: we investigate the chemical compounds that can be used in intra-specific communication.

Our projects on arthropod behavior focus mainly on prey-predator interactions and on intra and inter-sexual interactions between conspecifics.

The laboratory is funded by FAPESP.

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What is sensory ecology?


Sensory ecologists answer questions related to the information available in the environment in distinct contexts, such as the detection of food, predators and sexual partners. Researchers in this area study what are the strategies used by animals to obtain information about the environment, what exact information is used, how it is obtained and how the animals respond to it. The detection and adequate responses to such stimuli are essential to the survival of an organism and ultimately allow the propagation of its genes.

Please refer to the following books for more information:

Ali MA 1978. Sensory Ecology. Review and Perspectives. Plenum Press.
Barth FG & A Schmid 2001. Ecology of sensing. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg.
Dusenbery DB 1992. Sensory Ecology. W.H. Freeman, New York.

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