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Neurosci Lett. 2008 Apr 18;435(2):103-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.02.024. Epub 2008 Feb 16.

Ablation of antennae does not disrupt magnetoreceptive behavioural reaction of the American cockroach to periodically rotated geomagnetic field.

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Department of Animal Physiology and Immunology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlárská 2, Brno 611 37, Czech Republic.


Neither a mode of function nor an exact anatomical localisation of the animal magnetoreceptor have been identified in any organism. Insects' antennae are organs specialized as unique neural input structures for a number of sensory modalities and have also been suggested to play a certain role in magnetoreception. In the present study, we used the American cockroach Periplaneta americana and tested the impact of amputation of both its antennae on the spontaneous magnetosensitive behaviour. By means of a full-laboratory assay we registered a non-specific unlearned movement reaction to the changing magnetic environment within the frame of the natural time and intensity parameters of the field. We report no loss of the magnetoreceptive behaviour in antennaeless cockroaches. Our finding narrows the spectrum of the insects' magnetite-rich nerve structures which might potentially be involved in magnetoreception.

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