Publication details

Laboratory behavioural assay of insect magnetoreception: magnetosensitivity of Periplaneta americana.

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VÁCHA Martin

Year of publication 2006
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Experimental Biology
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Physiology
Keywords magnetoreception insect behaviour periplaneta
Description A relatively simple all-laboratory behavioural assay of insect magnetoreception has been developed. We found non-conditioned reactions of American cockroach to the periodical shifts of the geomagnetic field. The movement activity of animals individually placed into Petri dishes was scored as a number of body turns. Test groups were exposed to a 90-min interval with the horizontal component of the geomagnetic field periodically rotated by 60deg back and forth with 5 min periodicity. The number of body turns was compared with the preceding and following intervals and with the corresponding interval of the control group kept in the natural field. We obtained a significant increase in activity when a change in field was applied. Interestingly, the period of increased activity did not coincide precisely with the 90 min stimulation interval. The onset of animal restlessness was delayed by tens of minutes and persisted correspondingly after the stimulation stopped. Respective evaluation of the analysis of the data was suggested and verified. Owing to its simplicity and minimal manipulation of the insects, together with low demands on the memory and motivation state of animals, the approach potentially may be used as a laboratory diagnostic tool indicating magnetoreception in insect neurophysiology research.
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