Proprioceptive input patterns elevator activity in the locust flight system

J Neurophysiol. 1988 Jun;59(6):1831-53. doi: 10.1152/jn.1988.59.6.1831.


1. In the locust, Locusta migratoria, the roles of two groups of wing sense organs, hind wing tegulae and wing-hinge stretch receptors, in the generation of the flight motor pattern were investigated. A preparation was employed that allowed the intracellular recording of neural activity in almost intact tethered flying locusts or after selective manipulations of sensory input. The functions of the two sets of receptors were assessed 1) by studying the phases of their discharges in the wingbeat cycle (Fig. 3), 2) by the selective ablation of input from the receptors (Figs. 4-7), and 3) by the selective stimulation of the receptor afferents (Figs. 8-12). 2. Input from the tegulae was found to be responsible for the initiation of elevator activity (Figs. 9 and 10) and for the generation of a distinct initial rapid depolarization (Figs. 4, 5, and 8) characteristic of elevator motor neuron activity in intact locusts (Figs. 1 and 16). 3. Input from the wing-hinge stretch receptors was found to control the duration of elevator depolarizations by the graded suppression of a second late component of the elevator depolarizations as wingbeat frequency increased (Figs. 6, 7, 11, and 12). The characteristics of this late component of elevator activity suggested that it is generated by the same (central nervous) mechanism that produces the elevator depolarizations recorded in deafferented animals (Fig. 2). Apparently this late component contributes to the intact pattern of elevator depolarizations only at lower wingbeat frequencies and is abolished by the action of stretch-receptor input at frequencies above approximately 15 Hz (Figs. 1, 2, and 4). At these high wingbeat frequencies elevator activity is dominated by the rapid depolarizations generated as a result of tegula input. 4. The present study demonstrates 1) that the timing of elevator motor neuron activity is determined by phasic afferent input from tegulae and stretch receptors and 2) that input from the stretch receptors controls the duration of elevator activity in the wingbeat cycle following the wing movement that was responsible for the generation of the receptor discharge.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Denervation
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Flight, Animal*
  • Grasshoppers / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Proprioception*
  • Wings, Animal / innervation*