The venom of the parasitoid wasp Ampulex compressa induces long-lasting hypokinesia in the cockroach prey. Previous work indicates that the venom acts in the subesophageal ganglion to indirectly affect modulation of thoracic circuits for locomotion. However, the target of the venom in the subesophageal ganglion, and the mechanism by which the venom achieves its effects are as yet unknown. While the stung cockroaches appear generally lethargic, not all behaviors were affected, indicating that the venom targets specific motor systems and not behavior in general. Stung cockroaches were observed "freezing" in abnormal positions. Reserpine, which depletes monoamines, mimics the behavioral effects of the venom. We treated cockroaches with antagonists to dopamine and octopamine receptors, and found that the dopamine system is required for normal escape response. Dopamine injection induces prolonged grooming in normal cockroaches, but not in stung, suggesting that the venom is affecting dopamine receptors, or targets downstream of these receptors, in the subesophageal ganglion. This dopamine blocking effect fades slowly over the course of several weeks, similar to the time course of recovery from hypokinesia. The similarity in the time courses suggests that the mechanism underlying the hypokinesia may be the block of the dopamine receptors.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology|
|State||Published - 1 May 2002|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Behavioral Neuroscience