Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Department of Biology


Corey L. Cleland

Kyle Seifert

Patrice M. Ludwig


Escape responses to aversive stimuli have been observed in insects, including species of cricket, fly, locust, and cockroach. The goal of this study was to investigate the escape strategy of the Madagascar cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa. In regard to this species, Erickson and colleagues (2015) showed that electrical stimulation of both cerci and antennae together could generate an escape response. However, in other reports (Olsen and Triblehorn, 2014), it was observed that wind could not elicit the escape response. In this study, G. portentosa was stimulated by looming and heat stimuli. A 2.5’’ black ball approaching at 1 m/s was used to mimic a predator and a laser was used to apply heat stimuli to the cockroach’s tarsi. The results showed that heat stimuli evoked robust turning and translation responses while the looming stimuli evoked small but significant translation but not turning. In conclusion, and in contrast to the literature, Madagascar cockroaches displayed robust escape responses to looming and especially heat stimuli.



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