, Volume 177, Issue 6, pp 759-766

Direction sensitivity of the filiform hair population of the cricket cereal system

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Each cercus on the adult cricket Acheta domesticus bears 1000–2000 filiform hair mechanoreceptors. In order to determine the extent of “identifiability” of individual hair receptors, the structural characteristics of ten putative identified hairs were measured in 21–25 different animals. For these ten hairs, the sets of preferred directions and circumferential locations had standard deviations of 6.8° and 5.9°, respectively. There was no significant inter-animal covariance between a hair's preferred direction and its circumferential location. The preferred directions of 246 different identified hairs were then measured from 16 animals in order to characterize the distribution of preferred directions of hairs on a single typical cercus. These data were transformed from the frame of reference of the cercus into that of the cricket, generating an estimate of the representation of air-current stimulus direction provided by the entire ensemble of filiform hairs on both cerci. The distribution of hair directional sensitivities was continuous but extremely non-uniform, and more complex than previous studies had suggested.