Cercus structure

When one reads various papers it is important to watch for changes in naming and in ideas as the years progress. Details in earlier papers are left out and other details are assumed and forgotten as researchers home in on one particular aspect to the detriment of others.

From what I can make out there are five different main types of sensilla on the cricket cercus which create three different types of receptor. What goes to what is a bit confusing but touch reception arborizes to a different region of the neuropil and touch receptors are a combination of two to five neurons. This is like olfactory receptors. The other sensilla have just one neuron and a glial companion and arborize in the cercal glomerulus. The wind receptors are of three types with long, medium and short hairs and the remaining receptor seems to be for gravity. The wind receptors synapse with different interneurons than the gravity receptor. The whole system responds to auditory vibrations and weakly to ground vibrations and there is some question of perhaps olfactory reception but no actual proof. The focus now seems almost exclusively on the wind receptors.

There is no structural difference in the cercus between the sexes but males can lower or turn off reception during mating as they use the cercus as a mechanical tool in mating behavior. There are many different types of cercal system in various Orthoptera with number of sensilla and patterns varying greatly. There is probably a behavioral/environmental factor to this plasticity.


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