Grasshoppers produce an extraordinary oviposition behavior that is associated with multiple specializations of the skeletal and neuromuscular systems in the posterior abdomen, including a central pattern generator (CPG) in the female’s terminal abdominal ganglion. Two pairs of shovel-shaped appendages, the ovipositor valves on the abdomen tip, excavate the soil for deposition of eggs. By contrast, the sexually monomorphic pregenital region of the abdomen is without appendages. Morphological homologues of ovipositor muscles and efferent neurons in the eighth abdominal segment are nevertheless present in pregenital segments of males and females. In both sexes, a robust rhythmic motor program was induced in pregenital segments by the same experimental methods used to elicit oviposition digging. The activity, recorded extracellularly, was oviposition-like in burst period (5–6 s) and homologous muscle phase relationships, and it persisted after sensory inputs were removed, indicating the presence of pregenital CPGs. The abdomen exhibited posterior-going waves of activity with an intersegmental phase delay of approximately 1 s. These results indicate that serially homologous motor systems, including functional CPGs, provided the foundation for the evolution of oviposition behavior.
Journal of Comparative Physiology A – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 8, 2018
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