Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Biology

Advisor(s)

Corey Cleland

Mark Gabriele

Timothy Bloss

Abstract

Arthropods such as cockroaches, locusts, and crickets exhibit various escape strategies in response to wind, tactile, and looming stimulation. Cockroaches typically run from aversive stimuli, while locusts execute large jumps away from stimulation, and crickets display a combination of both walking and jumping techniques in response to stimulation. Looming object stimulation is perhaps the best type of stimulation to obtain information about how arthropods would respond to aversive stimuli in a natural setting, as it most accurately represents the complexity of multimodal inputs received by arthropods from external sources of stimulation while being preyed upon in the wild. Previous studies regarding looming object stimulation have centered mainly upon the response direction of locusts to the aversive stimuli, while not much research has been done with crickets. Further, the few studies regarding the response of crickets to looming stimulation focused on the type of escape strategy executed by crickets as well as whether or not their escape was successful, while the escape direction of the cricket in response to looming stimulation has not been as widely studied. As a result, the specific aim of this study was to determine whether the escape direction of the cricket was dependent upon the angle of approach of the looming stimulus. In response to looming stimulation, crickets displayed a combination of turning and either walking or jumping away from the incoming stimulus (a black ball). The degree of turn of the cricket’s body was significantly dependent upon the angle of the incoming stimulus, and crickets almost always moved away from the direction of the looming object.

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