Social Interactions and the Circadian Rhythm in Locomotor Activity in the Cockroach Leucophaea Maderae

Chronobiol Int. 2009 Apr;26(3):415-29. doi: 10.1080/07420520902876634.


The role of social interactions in entrainment has not been extensively studied in the invertebrates. Leucophaea maderae is a gregarious species of cockroach that exhibits extensive social interactions. Social interactions associated with copulation between the sexes have been shown to be regulated by the circadian system. We show here that social interactions between males are also under circadian control. We examined the question of whether or not these rhythmic social contacts could function as zeitgebers capable of regulating circadian phase and period. Animals initially in phase that were housed as groups or pairs of single sex or mixed sex in constant darkness for 2-7 weeks were found to drift out of phase. Their behavior was not significantly different from individual animals maintained in isolation. Further, animals that were initially out of phase by 12 h housed as groups or pairs were not significantly different in phase from animals that were isolated. The results show the circadian clocks of cockroaches are remarkably insensitive to the extensive social interactions that occur between individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aggression
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Cockroaches / physiology*
  • Female
  • Light
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Photoperiod
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Social Behavior
  • Time Factors
  • Video Recording