Habituation and dishabituation of the proleg withdrawal reflex in larvae of the sphinx hawk, Manduca sexta

Behav Neurosci. 1996 Oct;110(5):1133-47.


The neural circuit for the proleg withdrawal reflex (PWR) of Manduca sexta larvae exhibits activity-dependent plasticity. This study demonstrates habituation and dishabituation of PWR behavior. Repeated deflection of 1 or 5 mechanosensory hairs on a proleg at a 60-s interstimulus interval (ISI) for 20 trials produced a significant decrease in evoked force of proleg withdrawal. Habituation was similar with 30-s and 60-s ISIs and nonsignificant with a 5-min ISI or without repeated stimulation. Habituated responses recovered after cessation of stimulation or pinch of the body wall (dishabituation). The role of intersegmental influences was tested by severing connectives to leave different numbers of ganglia connected to the test segment. Habituation was robust even in test segments that were disconnected from the rest of the central nervous system. The PWR of Manduca is appropriate for further analysis of cellular mechanisms underlying learning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology*
  • Interneurons / physiology
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Larva
  • Manduca / physiology*
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Rats
  • Reflex / physiology*