Active tactile sampling by an insect in a step-climbing paradigm

Krause AF, Dürr V (2012)
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 6(30): 1-17.

Journal Article | Published | English

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Abstract
Many insects actively explore their near-range environment with their antennae. Stick insects (Carausius morosus) rhythmically move their antennae during walking and respond to antennal touch by repetitive tactile sampling of the object. Despite its relevance for spatial orientation, neither the spatial sampling patterns nor the kinematics of antennation behaviour in insects are understood. Here we investigate unrestrained bilateral sampling movements during climbing of steps. The main objectives are: (1) How does the antennal contact pattern relate to particular object features? (2) How are the antennal joints coordinated during bilateral tactile sampling? We conducted motion capture experiments on freely climbing insects, using steps of different height. Tactile sampling was analyzed at the level of antennal joint angles. Moreover, we analysed contact patterns on the surfaces of both the obstacle and the antenna itself.Before the first contact, both antennae move in a broad, mostly elliptical exploratory pattern. After touching the obstacle, the pattern switches to a narrower and faster movement, caused by higher cycle frequencies and lower cycle amplitudes in all joints. Contact events were divided into wall- and edge contacts. Wall contacts occurred mostly with the distal third of the flagellum, which is flexible, whereas edge contacts often occurred proximally, where the flagellum is stiff.The movement of both antennae was found to be coordinated, exhibiting bilateral coupling of functionally analogous joints (e.g., left head-scape joint with right scape-pedicel joint) throughout tactile sampling. In comparison, bilateral coupling between homologous joints (e.g., both head-scape joints) was significantly weaker. Moreover, inter-joint coupling was significantly weaker during the contact episode than before.In summary, stick insects show contact-induced changes in frequency, amplitude and inter-joint coordination during tactile sampling of climbed obstacles.
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Krause AF, Dürr V. Active tactile sampling by an insect in a step-climbing paradigm. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 2012;6(30):1-17.
Krause, A. F., & Dürr, V. (2012). Active tactile sampling by an insect in a step-climbing paradigm. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 6(30), 1-17.
Krause, A. F., and Dürr, V. (2012). Active tactile sampling by an insect in a step-climbing paradigm. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 6, 1-17.
Krause, A.F., & Dürr, V., 2012. Active tactile sampling by an insect in a step-climbing paradigm. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 6(30), p 1-17.
A.F. Krause and V. Dürr, “Active tactile sampling by an insect in a step-climbing paradigm”, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, vol. 6, 2012, pp. 1-17.
Krause, A.F., Dürr, V.: Active tactile sampling by an insect in a step-climbing paradigm. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 6, 1-17 (2012).
Krause, André Frank, and Dürr, Volker. “Active tactile sampling by an insect in a step-climbing paradigm”. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 6.30 (2012): 1-17.
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