Side-Dominance of Periplaneta americana Persists Through Antenna Amputation
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While brain lateralization is widely studied for vertebrates, only a few studies have been performed on insects. In the present research, we investigated the behavior of the common American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, to determine if such lateralization is evident through their decision making process. The roaches were allowed to run through a y-tube and make a decision on which direction to take. Vanilla and ethanol were randomly placed at the ends of the y-tube to entice the roaches to reach the end of the tubes. Tests were repeated by severing one antenna on each roach in different configurations which were expected to alter the decision of the insect. Through a simple statistical analysis we determined that the odors of vanilla and ethanol play an insignificant role in the decision making. We found that injury to the antenna indeed affected their decision, However, similar injury to either antenna showed an innate bias for turning right. Our research supports the hypothesis that Periplaneta americana is right-side dominated in their tactile and odor senses.
KeywordsSide-preference Periplaneta americana y-tube antenna
The research was supported by the NSF 0515930. The authors thank Ms. S. Jill Butler from Industrial Engineering at Texas A&M University for assistance in collecting and analyzing the data. We are indebted to Robert W. Matthews (University of Georgia) for his enlightening comments. SEM image collected by Hyungoo Lee at the Texas A&M University was greatly acknowledged.
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