Subject collection: Neuroethology
- Insect navigation: do ants live in the now?
Summary: Ant navigation has traditionally been thought of as an example of how complex behaviour can come from simple mechanisms. We review recent results that show how an ant's navigational mechanisms are more complex than previously thought.
- A classic model animal in the 21st century: recent lessons from the leech nervous system
Summary: Robust behaviors and a simple and accessible nervous system made the leech a favorite among systems neuroscientists. Increasing use of modern techniques helps explain its continued appeal.
- Bumblebees measure optic flow for position and speed control flexibly within the frontal visual field
Summary: Bumblebees control their flight using motion cues generated by the nearest obstacles in the frontal visual field, a strategy that enables them to fly safely in cluttered environments.
- Species-specific loss of sexual dimorphism in vocal effectors accompanies vocal simplification in African clawed frogs (Xenopus)
Highlighted article: How do nervous systems change evolutionarily to generate species-specific behaviors? The simplified male courtship songs of a frog, Xenopus borealis, reflect feminization of the larynx and its connection to the brain.
- Octopus arm movements under constrained conditions: adaptation, modification and plasticity of motor primitives
Summary: The ability of the motor system to adapt and modify motor primitives is shown by introducing a physical constraint to the octopus arm.
- The role of the cerebral ganglia in the venom-induced behavioral manipulation of cockroaches stung by the parasitoid jewel wasp
Summary: We show that venom injection by the jewel wasp to either the subesophageal ganglion or the central complex in the brain is, by itself, sufficient to induce a long-term hypokinetic state in its cockroach prey.
- The activity of isolated neurons and the modulatory state of an isolated nervous system represent a recent behavioural state
Summary: In the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis, the behavioural state can produce long-term changes in individual neurons that persist even after neuron isolation from the nervous system as well as alterations in the neurochemical microenvironment of the central ganglia.
- Effect of light intensity on flight control and temporal properties of photoreceptors in bumblebees
Summary: Bumblebees have both behavioural (reduction in flight speed) and retinal (reduction in response speed of the photoreceptors) adaptations to allow them to fly in dim light.
- Eye-independent, light-activated chromatophore expansion (LACE) and expression of phototransduction genes in the skin of Octopus bimaculoides
Highlighted Article: Octopus skin senses light independent of the eyes, causing chromatophores in the skin to expand, probably via the same r-opsin phototransduction genes used for vision.