Peripheral Thermal Receptors

  • R. Loftus
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 18)


Thermal receptors as a rule do not provide an organism with the kind of detailed information one is accustomed to expect from sense organs for vision, hearing, or smell. The location of nest, brood, mate, foraging areas, and predators within a biotope is mediated largely by sensory systems other than thermal, though there are notable exceptions. The facial pits of crotalid vipers (Bullock and Diecke, 1956; Goris and Nomoto, 1967) enable their possessors to strike successfully at small warm objects in the dark. Similar pits line the mouth region of the Boidae (Haris and Gamow, 1971; Hensel, 1947b). Melanophila, a bupestrid beetle, has sense organs at the rim of the depressions where its middle legs join its mesothorax. Apparently the beetle employs these organs to locate the scene of forest fires (Evans, 1964, 1966a,b). There it seeks fairly intact stumps of. freshly injured trees for its grubs to feed in. Fire damage affords access. Mosquitoes are another example. They are equipped with antennal thermal receptors which in combination with chemoreceptors presumably assist them in the search for their warm-blooded prey (Davis and Sokolove, 1975).


Sense Organ Adaptive Radiation Yellow Fever Mosquito Steady Temperature Impulse Frequency 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Loftus
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für ZoologieUniversität RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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