Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Biology

Advisor(s)

Corey Cleland, Ph. D.

Elizabeth Doyle, Ph. D.

Kristopher Kubow, Ph. D.

Abstract

In order to prevent injury or capture by a predator, animals have evolved escape behavior. Despite offering a more realistic, multimodal, approximation of an approaching predator, looming stimuli have rarely been used to evoke escape behavior in crickets. Wind stimuli, however, have been used on a variety of insects, including crickets where it has been found that direction of escape is directly correlated to the angle of incoming wind stimuli. Wind stimuli are detected by sensilla trichodea, small filiform hairs covering the cerci of crickets, locusts and cockroaches. Despite having other complex sensory systems, such as antennae and vision, little is known concerning utilization of these systems in evoking escape behavior. In this two part study, a looming stimulus was used to determine if angle of approach affects angle of escape in the cricket, Acheta domesticus. Subsequently, ablation experiments were used to determine which sensory modalities, vision, antennae and cerci, are necessary or sufficient for evoking an escape response. To the looming stimulus, the angle of escape was directly correlated to angle of stimulus approach, with crickets escaping directly away from the stimuli (r2= 0.87; p<0.001). When escape response frequency was analyzed based on angle of approach, vision was necessary and sufficient to evoke an escape response at anterior angles only (p<0.0005). At posterior and midline angles, cerci were necessary and sufficient to elicit escape response and angle of escape was directly correlated to angle of stimulus approach (p<0.0005).

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