Responses of descending neurons to looming stimuli in the praying mantis Tenodera aridifolia

Yoshifumi Yamawaki, Yoshihiro Toh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Responses to visual stimuli of some neurons that descend the nerve cord from the brain were recorded extracellularly in the mantis Tenodera aridifolia. Most of the recorded neurons showed their largest responses to looming stimuli that simulated a black circle approaching towards the mantis. The neurons showed a transient excitatory response to a gradually darkening or receding circle. The neurons showed sustained excitation to the linearly expanding stimuli, but the spike frequency decreased rapidly. The responses of the neurons were affected by both the diameter and the speed of looming stimuli. Faster or smaller looming stimuli elicited a higher peak frequency. These responses were observed in both recordings from the connective between suboesophageal and prothoracic ganglia and the connective between prothoracic and mesothoracic ganglia. There was a one-to-one correspondence of spike firing between these two recordings with a fixed delay. The neurons had the receptive field on ipsilateral side to its axon at the cervical connective. These results suggest that there is a looming-sensitive descending neuron, with an axon projecting over prothoracic ganglion, in the mantis nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-264
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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