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J Comp Physiol A. 2001 Mar;187(2):155-69.

Pharmacological brain stimulation releases elaborate stridulatory behaviour in gomphocerine grasshoppers--conclusions for the organization of the central nervous control.

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Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Göttingen, Germany.


Grasshoppers produce a variety of sounds generated by complex movements of the hindlegs. Stridulation, performed in the context of partner finding, mating and rivalry, can be released by pressure injection of cholinergic agonists into the protocerebrum. Particularly stimulation with muscarinic agonists induced long-lasting stridulation that resembled the natural behaviour to an astonishing degree, not only with respect to their temporal structure and right/left coordination, but also to changes in the song sequences according to the progress of courtship stridulation, even including accessory movements of other parts of the body. According to the complexity of their stridulatory behaviour ten gomphocerine species were chosen for this comparative study. The results indicate that the protocerebrum fulfils two important tasks in the control of stridulation: (1) it integrates sensory input relevant to stridulation that represents a certain behavioural situation and internal state of arousal, and (2) it selectively activates and deactivates the thoracic networks that generate the appropriate movement and sound patterns. With the knowledge of the natural behaviour and the accessibility to pharmacological and electrophysiological studies, the cephalic control system for stridulation in grasshoppers appears to be a suitable model for how the brain selects and controls appropriate behaviours for a given situation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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