• 1987 (Vol.1)

Frequency organization of the auditory receptor complex in midges (Chironomidae, Diptera)

© 2016 D. N. Lapshin

Institute for Information Transmission Problems of the RAS (Kharkevich Institute) 127051, Moscow, Bolshoy Karetny per, 19

Received 21 Apr 2015

"The main function of the auditory system in males of chironomid midges is believed to be the detec- tion of a conspecific female by the sound of its flight. In this study the frequency characteristics of the Johnston organ (JO) auditory receptors were measured electrophysiologically in midges (Chironomus plumosus). Responses of receptors were recorded from their axons in antennal nerve using glass microelectrode. Responses were amplified and fed to the stimulating loudspeaker, thus establishing the positive feedback stimulation. Characteristic frequencies of 436 individual receptor units were measured in this way. Further analysis revealed that, based on individual characteristic frequencies, the whole receptor complex of the JO can be divided into four distinct groups: A (160–190 Hz), B (205–245 Hz), C (255– 285 Hz) and D (315–370 Hz). The group С corresponds to the fundamental frequency produced by a conspecific female. Groups B and C fit into the best frequency range of the JO measured by other elec- trophysiological techniques. Frequency range of the group A coincides with the combination harmonic of the two frequencies: fundamental of a female flight tone and a male own flight tone. Most of the JO receptors formed pairs which were physiologically distinct in the antennal nerve. Sev- eral forms of multi-receptor responses were observed during autoexcitation: two different receptors, each one having its own characteristic frequency, responded in antiphase (with 0° and 180o phases of stimula- tion), and two receptors demonstrated simultaneous autoexcitation at same phase of stimulation. The first form was observed in ca. 60% of the whole number of recordings. In more than half of these cases the ratio between two frequencies was within a narrow range: 1.18–1.28 (average 1.24). Pairs of receptors with this frequency ratio belonged respectively to the groups A–B, B–C or C–D. In case of simultaneous multireceptor autoexcitation 25% of the pairs demonstrated the frequency ratio of ca. 1.5 and belonged to the groups A and C. This non-random and specific combination of frequencies in receptor pairs indicates that the auditory system of a midge utilizes the logic multiplication (conjunction) of different features of the conspecific signal. Functional coupling of differently tuned receptors, in part based on the principle of opponency (anti- phase pairs of receptors), might simplify and accelerate further signal processing in the brain."

Key words: Johnston organ, Chironomus plumosus, midge, acoustic communication, frequency tuning, positive feedback

Cite: Lapshin D. N. Chastotnaya organizatsiya retseptornogo kompleksa dzhonstonovogo organa komarov-zvontsov (chironomidae, diptera) [Frequency organization of the auditory receptor complex in midges (chironomidae, diptera)]. Sensornye sistemy [Sensory systems]. 2016. V. 30(1). P. 69-78 (in Russian).

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