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Control of the circadian rhythm of locomotor activity in the house cricket

Elsevier Ltd
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0022-1910(73)90173-x


Abstract A detailed analysis was made of the locomotor activity of Acheta domesticus under conditions of 12 hr light and 12 hr darkness (LD 12 : 12) and of continuous darkness (DD). Under LD 12 : 12 it was found that there are three types of insects: (1) those beginning the period of increased locomotor activity immediately after darkness falls, (2) considerably before this time, and (3) considerably after this time. Under DD conditions the greater amount of the insects have a free-running rhythm shorter than 24 hr, while only a small percentage have a rhythm of more than 24 hr. Destruction of the neurosecretory cells of the pars intercerebralis by means of radio waves leads to the formation of hyperactivity and loss of locomotor activity rhythm when more than half of these cells are destroyed. Injection of reserpine into the insect's haemolymph with doses of 10 μg/g of body weight results in a reduction in locomotor activity and produces arrhythmicity for 2 to 3 days under LD 12 : 12 conditions. Under DD conditions, however, this same dose results in a total and irretrievable loss of free-running rhythm. Histological studies of the brain of crickets following injection of reserpine show a large degree of accumulation of neurosecretion in the cells of the pars intercerebralis as compared with control insects. A hypothesis is put forward as to the way in which the brain centres regulating locomotor rhythm act in crickets.

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