The Effect of Model Calls

Benjamin Navia and John Stout (Biology)

The effect of model calls with varying sound intensities and multiple frequencies in the phonotactic selectivity and its neural correlates in female crickets

The recognition of a male’s call by female crickets and resulting orientation towards these calls (phonotaxis) illuminates the roles that identified neurons play in controlling behavior.  The European cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus has been foundational in developing a powerful model of behavioral control - many of the studies were done in European labs using this species. The reports in the literature are frequently focused on different mechanisms/models from those published by our lab, using Acheta domesticus females. Thus, we have extended our research to the European species through collaborating with European labs. Some groups consider the European cricket to be the “real cricket”. Doing our experiments on the “real cricket” with very similar results to our studies on A. domesticus has both strengthened support for our results and created some “consternation”. These two species now provide the most insight into the nervous system control of female responses to calling males.  There are still several types of crucially important experiments that have only been carried out on A. domesticus and must be repeated with G. bimaculatus.  These include: a. The influence of model call intensity (dB – loudness) on the females’ selective behavioral response; b. The effects of injecting picrotoxin (blocks inhibition) into a ganglion containing auditory neurons on the females’ behavioral choice of a model call to respond to; c. The influence of modulating the intensity (loudness) “patterning” of model calls on the females’ phonotaxis and on selective processing by auditory neurons.