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J Insect Physiol. 2010 Mar;56(3):236-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2009.10.007. Epub 2009 Oct 30.

Vibration receptive sensilla on the wing margins of the silkworm moth Bombyx mori.

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Division of Biology, Department of Earth System Science, Fukuoka University, 8-19-1 Nanakuma, Jonan-ku, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan.


Bristles along the wing margins (wm-bristles) of the silkworm moth, Bombyx mori, were studied morphologically and electrophysiologically. The male moth has ca. 50 wm-bristles on each forewing and hindwing. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that these wm-bristles are typical mechanosensilla. Leuco-methylene blue staining demonstrated that each wm-bristle has a single receptor neuron, which is also characteristic of the mechanosensillum. The receptor neuron responded to vibrating air currents but did not respond to a constant air current. The wm-bristles showed clear directional sensitivity to vibrating air currents. The wm-bristles were classified into two types, type I and type II, by their response patterns to sinusoidal movements of the bristle. The neuron in type I discharged bursting spikes immediately following stimulation onset and also discharged a single spike for each sinusoidal cycle for frequencies less than ca. 60 Hz. The neuron in type II only responded to vibrations over 40 Hz and, specifically at 75 Hz, discharged a single spike for each sinusoidal cycle throughout the stimulation period. These results suggest that the two types of wm-bristles are highly tuned in different ways to detect vibrations due to the wing beat. The roles of the wm-bristles in the wing beat are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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