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In adult female crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus), rhythmic movements of ovipositor valves are produced by contractions of a set of ovipositor muscles that mediate egg-laying behavior. Recordings from implanted wire electrodes in the ovipositor muscles of freely-moving crickets revealed sequential changes in the temporal pattern of motor activity that corresponded to shifts between behavioral steps: penetration of the ovipositor into a substrate, deposition of eggs, and withdrawal of the ovipositor from the substrate. We aimed in this study to illustrate the neuronal organization producing these motor patterns and the pattern-switching mechanism during the behavioral sequence. Firstly, we obtained intracellular recordings in tethered preparations, and identified 12 types of interneurons that were involved in the rhythmic activity of the ovipositor muscles. These interneurons fell into two classes: 'initiator interneurons' in which excitation preceded the rhythmic contractions of ovipositor muscles, and 'oscillator interneurons' in which the rhythmic oscillation and spike bursting occurred in sync with the oviposition motor rhythm. One of the oscillator interneurons exhibited different depolarization patterns in the penetration and deposition motor rhythms. It is likely that some of the oscillator interneurons are involved in producing different oviposition motor patterns. Secondly, we analyzed oviposition motor patterns when the mecahnosensory hairs located on the inside surface of the dorsal ovipositor valves were removed. In deafferented preparations, the sequential change from deposition to withdrawal did not occur. Therefore, the switching from deposition pattern to withdrawal pattern is signaled by the hair sensilla that detect the passage of an egg just before it is expelled.
- Journal of Insect Physiology
Journal of Insect Physiology 57(2), 326-338, 2011-02-00