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Proc Biol Sci. 2000 Mar 7;267(1442):453-7.

Nanometre-range acoustic sensitivity in male and female mosquitoes.

Author information

1
Institute for Zoology, University of Zürich, Switzerland. mgoepfer@zool.unizh.ch

Abstract

Johnston's sensory organ at the base of the antenna serves as a movement sound detector in male mosquitoes, sensing antennal vibrations induced by the flight sounds of conspecific females. Simultaneous examination of acoustically elicited antennal vibrations and neural responses in the mosquito species Toxorhynchites brevipalpis has now demonstrated the exquisite acoustic and mechanical sensitivity of Johnston's organ in males and, surprisingly, also in females. The female Johnston's organ is less sensitive than that of males. Yet it responds to antennal deflections of +/- 0.0005 degrees induced by +/- 11 nm air particle displacements in the sound field, thereby surpassing the other insect movement sound detectors in sensitivity. These findings strongly suggest that the reception of sounds plays a crucial role in the sensory ecology of both mosquito sexes.

PMID:
10737401
PMCID:
PMC1690551
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2000.1021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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