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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2006 Aug;192(8):827-31. Epub 2006 Apr 4.

Orientation response of haematophagous bugs to CO2: the effect of the temporal structure of the stimulus.

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Laboratorio de FisiologĂ­a de Insectos, DBBE, FCEyN, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Carbon dioxide is generally recognized as an important cue used by haematophagous insects to locate a food source. When the mammalian hosts of these insects breathe, they normally emanate considerable amounts of CO2 at discrete intervals, i.e. with each exhalation. In this work, we analysed the effect of temporally pulsing CO2 on the host-seeking behaviour of Triatoma infestans. We investigated the ability of T. infestans to follow continuous and intermittent air pulses of 0.25, 0.5 and 1 Hz that included different concentrations of CO2. We found that insects were attracted to pulsed airstreams of 0.25 and 0.5 Hz transporting 400 ppm of CO2 above the ambient levels and to continuous streams added with the same amount of CO2. On the other hand, insects walked away from streams pulsed at rates of 1 Hz regardless of the amount of CO2 they bear. The walking trajectories displayed by bugs to attractive CO2-pulsed streams were as rectilinear and accurate as those to CO2-continuous streams. Our results are discussed in the frame of the interaction between olfactory and mechanoreceptive inputs as affecting the behavioural response of bugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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