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Activity pattern of suboesophageal ganglion cells innervating the salivary glands of the locust Locusta migratoria

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The salivary gland of the locust, Locusta migratoria, is innervated from the suboesophageal ganglion by two neurones, SN1 and SN2 which innervate the gland via the salivary gland nerve (nerve 7B of the suboesophageal ganglion). In addition, like most other peripheral nerves of the head, this nerve carries on its outer surface axons and neurohaemal terminal ramifications of the so called satellite nervous system, established by a group of neurosecretory cells also located in the suboesophageal ganglion. These superficial collaterals ramify over the nerve from its origin in the head to its terminals within the gland in the thoracic segments.

Nerve 7B was recorded chronically in freely moving locusts. Both salivary neurones are active during and shortly before feeding, as defined by continuous rhythmic activity of the mandibular closer muscle (M9). The activity of the salivary neurones, particularly that of SN2, thus resembles that of the satellite neurones as described recently. While SN2 ceases firing at the end of a feeding bout, SN1 continues firing for a short period. Also, SN1 fires short bursts of impulses for a few minutes following the end of a feeding bout. Similar bursts also occur at random intervals during the long-lasting phases between feeding events.

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SN1 :

salivary neurone 1

SN2 :

salivary neurone 2

M9 :

mandibular closer muscle


dorsal unpaired median


labral median nerve


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Schachtner, J., Bräunig, P. Activity pattern of suboesophageal ganglion cells innervating the salivary glands of the locust Locusta migratoria . J Comp Physiol A 176, 491–501 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00196415

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Key words

  • Insect
  • Salivary glands
  • Serotonin
  • 5-hydroxytryptamine
  • Dopamine
  • Feeding