In the cricket, the escape response is primarily directed by cercal detection of incoming wind stimuli, though previous experiments showed that vision may play a role. For looming stimuli, the direction of the stimuli affect the direction and magnitude of the escape response. The escape response is often accompanied by the pointing of an antennae toward the incoming object. To date, little research has been done on antennae pointing and its relationship to the properties of the stimulus and escape movement. The goal of this research focuses on determining the characteristics and primary sensory modality responsible for antennae pointing to looming stimuli in Acheta domesticus. Looming stimuli were presented by a 3” black polyurethane ball projected (1 m/s, 45 degrees) toward the cricket from eight circumferential directions. The cricket was placed into a rotatable arena of white canvas surrounded by roof flashing. Escape responses and antennae orientations were recorded using high-speed video (650fps) and manually tracked in motion analysis software. We noticed that when antennae pointing occurred there was an attempt by the cricket to maintain the pointing throughout escape turning. Pointing appeared to occur in only one antenna at a time, with a preference for the one positioned on the side closest to the incoming looming stimulus. In particular for stimuli presented posteriorly, in which there was no preferred antenna, still only one antenna pointed; there was no evidence that both antennae pointed. Further studies will identify the relative contributions of vision and wind through the use of vision-only (video) and wind-only (white balls against a white background) stimuli as well as more fully characterize the dependence on stimulus direction and correlation to sensory or movement variables.

Additional Abstract Information

Student(s): Alexander Zeher

Department: Biology

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Corey Cleland

Type: Poster

Year: 2019

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