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Behavioral response to antennal tactile stimulation in the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus

Abstract

We examined behavioral responses of the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus to tactile stimuli to the antennae. Three stimulants of similar shape and size but different textures were used: a tibia from the hunting spider Heteropoda venatoria (potential predator), a tibia from the orb-web spider Argiope bruennichi (less likely predator), and a glass rod. Each stimulus session comprised a first gentle contact and a second strong contact. The evoked behavioral responses were classified into four categories: aversion, aggression, antennal search, and no response. Regardless of the stimulants, the crickets exhibited antennal search and aversion most frequently in response to the first and second stimuli, respectively. The frequency of aversion was significantly higher to the tibia of H. venatoria than to other stimulants. The most striking observation was that aggressive responses were exclusive to the H. venatoria tibia. To specify the hair type that induced aggression, we manipulated two types of common hairs (bristle and fine) on the tibia of the predatory spider. When bristle hairs were removed from the H. venatoria tibia, aggression was significantly reduced. These results suggest that antennae can discriminate the tactile texture of external objects and elicit adaptive behavioral responses.

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Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to Drs. Fumio Yokohari (Fukuoka University), Hiroyuki Nakagawa (Fukuoka University), Toshio Ichikawa (Kyushu University), and Yoshihiro Toh (Professor Emeritus at Kyushu University) for technical assistance in the SEM study. This study was supported in part by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (19570070), the Yamada Science Foundation, and Launch-up support from Nagasaki University.

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Correspondence to Jiro Okada.

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Okada, J., Akamine, S. Behavioral response to antennal tactile stimulation in the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus . J Comp Physiol A 198, 557–565 (2012) doi:10.1007/s00359-012-0729-y

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Keywords

  • Insect
  • Cricket
  • Antenna
  • Tactile sense
  • Behavioral response