ISSN 0022-0930, Journal of Evolutionary Biochemistry and Physiology, 2018, Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 137—148. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2018.
Original Russian Text © A.M. Lunichkin, A.N. Knyazev, 2018, published in Zhurnal Evolyutsionnoi Biokhimii i Fiziologii, 2018, Vol. 54, No. 2, pp. 122—132.
COMPARATIVE AND ONTOGENIC
Involvement of Mechanosensory Complex Structures
of the Cricket Gryllus bimaculatus Larvae (Orthoptera,
Gryllidae) in Triggering of Motor Responses to Sound
A. M. Lunichkin
* and A. N. Knyazev
Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences,
St. Petersburg, Russia
* e-mail: email@example.com
Received July 19, 2017
Abstract—Using an ethological approach, we studied the possibility of sound perception as well as
probable contribution of diverse mechanosensory systems composing the mechanosensory complex
to triggering of motor responses to sound stimulation in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus larvae. It was
shown that larvae can perceive sounds and respond to them by a locomotor reaction in a relatively
broad frequency range, which becomes narrower as sound intensity decreases [0.1–6.6 kHz (111 ±
3 dB SPL), 0.1–1.4 kHz (101 ± 3 dB SPL), 0.1–0.8 kHz (91 ± 3 dB SPL]. Sound perception and
triggering of motor responses appear to involve the cercal organs (CO), subgenual organs (SO) and,
probably, other distant mechanosensory organs (DMO). Normal functioning of CO is essential for
triggering locomotor responses to sound within the ranges of 1–1.4 kHz (101 ± 3 dB SPL) and
0.1–0.8 kHz (91 ± 3 dB SPL). CO are not necessary for triggering of motor responses to cues with an
intensity of 111 ± 3 dB. SO and, probably, other DMO provide locomotor responses to sound within
the ranges of 0.1– 6.6 kHz (111 ± 3 dB SPL), 0.1–0.9 kHz (101 ± 3 dB SPL), and 0.1–0.3 kHz
(91 ± 3 dB SPL). Thus, last instar larvae of G. bimaculatus lacking the tympanal organs can perceive
sounds using CO, SO and, probably, other DMO, which (as in cricket imagoes) are likely to compose
an integrated mechanosensory complex providing adequate acoustic behavior of this cricket species.
Performance efficiency and sensitivity of the mechanosensory complex (specifically, CO) rely
on the thoroughness of grooming. After self-cleaning of CO, the level of larval motor activity in
response to cue presentation returned to the baseline and sometimes even increased. We assume
that under normal conditions the mechanosensory complex, which triggers motor responses to a
sound, is involved in the defensive escape response aimed at rescuing from predators.
Key words: evolution, ontogeny, sensory systems, bioacoustics, insects, crickets.
stimuli, acoustic cues are of great importance.
Sound is used by many animal species to ensure
intraspecies communication, specifically, the en-
counter of males and females. Besides, sound can
signal the presence of a predator or a traumatizing
One of the major current problems of physiology
is studying the mechanisms which provide animals
with the ability to perceive external environmental
stimuli and form adequate behavior. Among these