Evidence of a central pattern generator regulating spermathecal muscle activity in Locusta migratoria and its coordination with oviposition
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Electrophysiological recordings were conducted to determine the control of spermathecal contractions during oviposition of interrupted egg-laying locusts, Locusta migratoria. Following transection of the central nervous system below the metathoracic ganglion, rhythmic patterned bursting was detected by extracellular recordings of the nerve N2B2 that innervates the muscles of the spermatheca. Subsequent transections at more posterior regions of the ventral nerve cord revealed more robust rhythmic bursting in N2B2. This rhythmic bursting pattern was found to be coordinated with bursting in the ventral opener nerve (N2B1) that innervates the ventral opener muscle. This muscle controls the ventral ovipositor valves. Electromyographic recordings from the spermathecal muscle and ventral opener muscle confirmed a rhythmic bursting pattern resulting in an increase in muscle activity. Taken together, the results indicate that there is probably a central pattern generator (CPG), which is regulated by descending inhibition, that controls the spermathecal muscle activity. This CPG appears to be located within the VIIth and VIIIth abdominal ganglia, and was found to integrate with the CPG that regulates oviposition digging in locusts. These results provide further insight into the intricate coordination and control of reproductive tissues underlying reproductive behaviours in locusts.
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