Serotonin precursor (5-hydroxytryptophan) causes substantial changes in the fighting behavior of male crickets, Gryllus bimaculatus

J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2013 Jul;199(7):601-9. doi: 10.1007/s00359-013-0804-z. Epub 2013 Mar 6.


This study demonstrates that injection of the serotonin precursor 5-HTP causes substantial changes in the behavioral state, fighting behavior and ability to establish winner-loser relationships in male crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus). The characteristic features of 5-HTP-treated crickets include an elevated posture, enhanced general activity, longer duration of fighting, enhanced rival singing and a decreased ability to produce a clear fight loser. In addition, 5-HTP-treated males showed a slightly delayed latency to spread their mandibles, a decreased number of attacks and an equal potential to win in comparison to controls (physiological solution-treated males). The obtained results imply a significant role for serotonin in the regulation of social status-related behaviors in G. bimaculatus. Specifically, these data indicate that a decrease in serotonergic activity may be functionally important for the control of loser behavior and that some behavioral features of dominant male crickets are likely to be connected with the activation of the serotonergic system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan / pharmacology*
  • Aggression / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Gryllidae / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • Posture / physiology
  • Social Dominance
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Video Recording


  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan