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Bioacoustics paper in PLoS ONE

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Subject: Bioacoustics paper in PLoS ONE
From: Jernej Polajnar <>
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2011 13:01:19 +0100
A new paper on vibrational communication and the involved neuronal circuitry is just out in PLoS ONE. The article is, of course, open access.

Zorović M. (2011): Temporal Processing of Vibratory Communication Signals at the Level of Ascending Interneurons in Nezara viridula (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). PLoS ONE 6(10): e26843. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026843

Abstract: During mating, males and females of N. viridula (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) produce sex- and species-specific calling and courtship substrate-borne vibratory signals, grouped into songs. Recognition and localization of these signals are fundamental for successful mating. The recognition is mainly based on the temporal pattern, i.e. the amplitude modulation, while the frequency spectrum of the signals usually only plays a minor role. We examined the temporal selectivity for vibratory signals in four types of ascending vibratory interneurons in N. viridula. Using intracellular recording and labelling technique, we analyzed the neurons' responses to 30 pulse duration/interval duration (PD/ID) combinations. Two response arrays were created for each neuron type, showing the intensity of the responses either as time-averaged spike counts or as peak instantaneous spike rates. The mean spike rate response arrays showed preference of the neurons for short PDs (below 600 ms) and no selectivity towards interval duration; while the peak spike rate response arrays exhibited either short PD/long ID selectivity or no selectivity at all. The long PD/short ID combinations elicited the weakest responses in all neurons tested. No response arrays showed the receiver preference for either constant period or duty cycle. The vibratory song pattern selectivity matched the PD of N. viridula male vibratory signals, thus pointing to temporal filtering for the conspecific vibratory signals already at level of the ascending interneurons. In some neurons the responses elicited by the vibratory stimuli were followed by distinct, regular oscillations of the membrane potential. The distance between the oscillation peaks matched the temporal structure of the male calling song, indicating a possible resonance based mechanism for signal recognition.

Jernej Polajnar
Oddelek za entomologijo / Department of entomology
Nacionalni inštitut za biologijo / National institute of biology
Večna pot 111
SI-1000 Ljubljana

Tel.: +386 (0)59 232 788
Fax:  +386 (0)1 2412 980

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