Phonotactic steering and representation of directional information in the ascending auditory pathway of a cricket

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2020
Authors:Lv, Zhang, Hedwig
Keywords:AN1 interneuron, binaural differences, reliability, spike response, surface electrodes

Directional hearing is crucial for animals depending on acoustic signals to locate a mate. We focused on crickets to explore the reliability of directional information forwarded to the brain by the ascending auditory interneuron AN1, which is crucial for phonotactic behavior. We presented calling song from -45° to +45° in steps of 3°, and compared the phonotactic steering of females walking on a trackball with the directional responses of AN1. 40% of females showed good steering behavior and changed their walking direction when the speaker passed the body´s longitudinal axis. The bilateral latency difference between right and left AN1 responses was small and may not be reliable for auditory steering. In respect to spike count, all AN1 recordings presented significant bilateral differences for angles larger than ±18°, yet 35% showed a mean significant difference of 1-3 AP/Chirp when the frontal stimulus deviated by 3° from their length axis. For small angles some females had a very similar AN1 activity forwarded to the brain, but the accuracy of their steering behavior was substantially different. Our results indicate a correlation between directional steering and the response strength of AN1, especially for large angles. The reliable steering of animals at small angles would have to be based on small bilateral differences of AN1 activity, if AN1 is the only source providing directional information. We discuss if such bilateral response difference at small angles can provide a reliable measure to generate auditory steering commands descending from the brain, as pattern recognition is intensity independent.

BioAcoustica ID: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith