, Volume 119, Issue 3, pp 267-283

The cercus-to-giant interneuron system of crickets

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  1. The anatomical and physiological characteristics of filiform hairs, receptor elements on the cerci of the cricketAcheta domesticus, were investigated, with special attention to possible physiological differences between anatomically defined subclasses.

  2. Maps of the distribution of hair socket orientations on the cercus show that the filiform hairs can be divided into two main subclasses: those whose sockets are oriented longitudinally and whose hair shafts vibrate transversely (T-hairs), and the reciprocal subclass whose sockets are oriented transversely and whose shafts vibrate longitudinally (L-hairs), with respect to the long axis of the cercus. T-hairs are found on the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the cercus, while the L-hairs are on the medial and lateral surfaces. Obliquely oriented hairs lie primarily at the margins of the well defined T-and L-populations. Hair density is greatest at the base of the cercus.

  3. Intracellular cobalt fills of physiologically characterized receptor axons reveal that the processes branch profusely before terminating in the ipsilateral neuropile of the terminal abdominal ganglion.

  4. Intracellular recordings from the axons of filiform hairs show that the receptors respond tonically to tones. The receptors studied responded with a phase-locked spike train to tones up to a frequency of about 200 Hz. They showed a preference for sound sources situated either transversely or longitudinally to the longitudinal axis of the cercus. Other than directional preference, no physiological differences were detected between the response properties of T-and L-cells.

This work was supported by grants from the U. S. Public Health Service (NS-07778) and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (J. P. and M. S.), and the National Science Foundation (BN 54523454) to R.K. Murphey (R.L.). We are grateful to Malcolm Burrows for the hospitality of his laboratory, and to him, Rod Murphey, John Edwards and David Bentley for critical reading of the manuscript.