Morpho-Functional Characterization of Cercal Organs in Crickets


The involvement of the cercal organs in triggering of motor responses to acoustic stimulation was comparatively investigated in a cricket Phaeophelacris bredoides imago, which lost the tympanal organ during evolution, and a cricket Gryllus bimaculatus last-instar nymph that has a rudimentary tympanal organ. A morphometric analysis of the cercal filiform sensilla in both species revealed that in Ph. bredoides a single cercus bears mainly longer hairs (total number, 1110 ± 16) that vary in their length from 800 to 1850 µm, while in G. bimaculatus nymphs the filiform sensilla on a single cercus are fewer (total number, 845 ± 27) and predominantly shorter (<200 µm). The frequency range of signals triggering motor responses in Ph. bredoides imagines shifts towards higher frequencies, while in G. bimaculatus nymphs it expands with the increasing sound intensity. The data obtained indicate that, while triggering motor responses, the cercal organ in Ph. bredoides is functionally complemented by other mechanosensory organs. In G. bimaculatus, sensillar responses of the nymphal cercal organ are required for initiating motor responses but are not compensated by other organs at physiological sound intensities.

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Authors are grateful to B.F. Gribakin (St. Petersburg State University) for his help in interpreting cave cricket’s cercal responses to high-frequency stimuli at a highest intensity of sound stimulation.


This work was supported by the State budget (theme reg. no. АААА-А18-118013090245-6).

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A.M. Lunichkin—experimental design, data collection and processing, writing and editing a manuscript; M.I. Zhukovskaya—data processing, writing and editing a manuscript.

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Correspondence to A. M. Lunichkin.

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All applicable international, national and institutional principles of handling and using experimental animals for scientific purposes were observed. This study did not involve human subjects as research objects.

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Translated by A. Polyanovsky

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Lunichkin, A.M., Zhukovskaya, M.I. Morpho-Functional Characterization of Cercal Organs in Crickets. J Evol Biochem Phys 57, 46–54 (2020).

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  • evolution
  • ontogeny
  • sensory systems
  • bioacoustics
  • insects
  • crickets