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The Effect of Temperature Changes On the Activity of Poikilotherms

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I. This paper describes the way in which the spontaneous activity of the isolated ganglia of the cockroach, crayfish and slug varies with temperature. 2. The optimum temperature for the cockroach nerve cord depends upon the temperature at which the insect has been kept during the previous 4 weeks. 3. The activity of the isolated slug, crayfish and cockroach ganglia shows anomalous temperature transients. When the temperature is increased, the activity shows a transient decrease. Decreasing the temperature brings about a transient increase in activity. After the transient has passed the activity is higher at the higher temperature. 4. There are four different types of spontaneously active units in the cockroach nerve cord. Type 1 behaves as described above. Type 2 behaves like a cold receptor. It is more active at low temperatures and less active at high temperatures. Type 3 is more active at high temperatures and less active at low temperatures. It differs from type 1 in that it does not show any anomalous transients. Type 4 appears to be unaffected by temperature changes. 5. The intact crayfish and cockroach become temporarily more active when the temperature is lowered below their optimum temperature and less active when the temperature is raised. Raising the temperature above the optimum leads to an increase in the animal's activity. It is suggested that this is the means by which poikilotherms aggregate at a prefered temperature.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, The University of Southampton

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