Anxiety, a behavioral consequence of stress, has been characterized in humans and some vertebrates, but not invertebrates. Here, we demonstrate that after exposure to stress, crayfish sustainably avoided the aversive illuminated arms of an aquatic plus-maze. This behavior was correlated with an increase in brain serotonin and was abolished by the injection of the benzodiazepine anxiolytic chlordiazepoxide. Serotonin injection into unstressed crayfish induced avoidance; again, this effect was reversed by injection with chlordiazepoxide. Our results demonstrate that crayfish exhibit a form of anxiety similar to that described in vertebrates, suggesting the conservation of several underlying mechanisms during evolution. Analyses of this ancestral behavior in a simple model reveal a new route to understanding anxiety and may alter our conceptions of the emotional status of invertebrates.