Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 193, Issue 6, pp 625–633

Efficient inhibition of bursts by bursts in the auditory system of crickets

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00359-007-0217-y

Cite this article as:
Marsat, G. & Pollack, G.S. J Comp Physiol A (2007) 193: 625. doi:10.1007/s00359-007-0217-y


In crickets, auditory information about ultrasound is carried bilaterally to the brain by the AN2 neurons. The ON1 neuron provides contralateral inhibitory input to AN2, thereby enhancing bilateral contrast between the left and right AN2s, an important cue for sound localization. We examine how the structures of the spike trains of these neurons affect this inhibitory interaction. As previously shown for AN2, ON1 responds to salient peaks in stimulus amplitude with bursts of spikes. Spike bursts, but not isolated spikes, reliably signal the occurrence of specific features of the stimulus. ON1 and AN2 burst at similar times relative to the amplitude envelope of the stimulus, and bursts are more tightly time-locked to stimulus feature than the isolated spikes. As a consequence, spikes that, in the absence of contralateral inhibition, would occur within AN2 bursts are more likely to be preceded by spikes in ON1 (mainly also in bursts) than are isolated AN2 spikes. This leads to a large decrease in the burst rate of the inhibited AN2. We conclude that the match in coding properties of ON1 and AN2 allows contralateral inhibition to be most efficient for those portions of the response that carry the behaviourally relevant information, i.e. for bursts.


Sound localizationNeural codingBat evasionFeature detectionTemporal pattern

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada