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Comparison of the constancy mechanisms in the cereal systems of crickets (Acheta domesticus andGryllus bimaculatus)

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Characteristics of the constancy mechanisms for directional selectivity shown to exist in the terminal abdominal ganglion (TAG) of the cricket were estimated and compared in the two cricket speciesAcheta domesticus andGryllus bimaculatus. Directional properties of TAG neurons were studied using extracellular recordings from their axons in the connectives. The stimuli were sounds (400 Hz) and airstreams of various directions. Directional sensitivity diagrams (DSD) of TAG neurons were plotted for 5–10 positions of the cerci. Small shifts in DSD axis orientation and variations in DSD amplitude due to step changes in the position of the cerci were assessed.

For the majority of TAG neurons recorded in the experiments, one cercus can be denoted as exciting (e-cercus) and the other as inhibiting (i-cercus) according to the effect of their afferent signals on the neuron concerned. The shifts in DSD axis orientation due to step changes in thee-cercus position proved to be of similar magnitude for TAG neurons of both species (see Table 1). The mean shift was about 10% of the angle between the initial and the final cercus positions. The curves for DSD amplitude as a function ofe-cercus position varied from preparation to preparation and were markedly different in the two species. ForA. domesticus these curves usually had a maximum near 30° (Figs. 2–4). ForG. bimaculatus they were usually monotonic and had no maximum (Fig. 5); moreover, in most cases the dependence of DSD amplitude one-cercus position was less pronounced than forA. domesticus. Thei-cercus position had practically no effect on DSD amplitude for TAG neurons of both species.

Data on the typical natural angles between the cerci and the body (Figs. 6, 7) may offer an explanation of the difference in the amplitude curves for the two species. In contrast toG. bimaculatus, the range of preferential angles inA. domesticus remains almost unchanged throughout the late stages of development. This fact may be responsible for the appearance of a maximum in amplitude curves for the house cricket in the range of modal angles.

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directional sensitivity diagram


lateral giant interneuron


medial giant interneuron


terminal abdominal ganglion


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I am grateful to Dr. N.Y. Alexeenko, Prof. A.L. Byzov and Dr. A.V. Popov for useful discussions and critical reading of the manuscript, and to Y.I. Lushkevich for his help in translation.

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Rozhkova, G.I. Comparison of the constancy mechanisms in the cereal systems of crickets (Acheta domesticus andGryllus bimaculatus). J. Comp. Physiol. 137, 287–296 (1980).

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  • Late Stage
  • Similar Magnitude
  • Preferential Angle
  • Small Shift
  • Axis Orientation