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Cholinergic activation of stridulatory behaviour in the grasshopper Omocestus viridulus (L.)
R Heinrich, B Hedwig, N Elsner


When acetylcholine (ACh) and its agonists are injected into neuropile regions of the protocerebrum and the suboesophageal ganglion of male and female grasshoppers of the species Omocestus viridulus (L.), they elicit stridulation in a pattern no different from that of natural song. Stridulation can even be evoked in mated females which normally do not sing. By choosing suitable ACh agonists, nicotinic and muscarinic ACh receptors can be activated selectively. Activation of nicotinic ACh receptors produces individual song sequences with rapid onset; the stridulation induced by activation of the muscarinic ACh receptors begins after a longer latency, increases slowly in intensity and is maintained for many minutes. The sites within the cephalic ganglia where song can be initiated pharmacologically coincide with regions in which descending stridulatory command neurones arborize.