Olfactory Food and Mate Recognition

  • Jürgen Boeckh
  • Klaus-Dieter Ernst


Olfaction has many facets — membrane excitability, cellular neurophysiology, ethology, orientation physiology, ecology, evolution, psychophysics etc. To combine several of these aspects with the aim of understanding an animal’s activities in its natural environment — this we could learn from men like K.D. Roeder, who made clear that one must understand an animal’s biology, and behaviour, and its nervous system in order to be able to ask reasonable questions about any one of these aspects. He with others awoke our interest in the neurobiological basis of behaviour. E.S. Hodgson, a collaborator of Roeder, with the help of one of Y. Lettwin’s good experimental ideas, successfully tackled such a problem in the area of chemoreception (Hodgson et al. 1955). He and his co-authors studied reactions of individually identifiable receptor cells in an insect taste hair. This method opened new access to the neural coding of olfactory stimuli at the receptor cell level amongst other problems. In the years after this pioneering work, a vast amount of data was collected on reactions of insect olfactory receptor cells (Kaissling 1971). Today we can say that the advantageous conditions which insect provide for such investigations led to results which are important for the understanding of chemoreceptors in general. This, of course, provided a good background for a study of the central olfactory pathway in insects, and one hope is that this might be a way to understand the role of the central networks which control reactions of animals to odours.


Receptor Cell Olfactory Receptor Mushroom Body Antennal Lobe Odour Source 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jürgen Boeckh
  • Klaus-Dieter Ernst
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für ZoologieUniversität RegensburgRegensburgF.R. Germany

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