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Ethological and Statistical Aspects of a Quantal Response in Mosquitoes To Environmental Stimuli 1)

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image of Behaviour

Detailed observation of the behaviour patterns exhibited by Aedes aegypti indicated that an oscillation of the metathoracic leg is a 'fixed action' immediately preceding take-off in the starving adult female. The sequence of actions preceding take-off support the view that the metathoracic leg response and other actions represent stages in a critical graded response culminating in take-off. As such, they may be used as criteria to represent statistical classes for quantal responses which are directly related to an underlying quantitative relationship. A statistical model for analyzing response to physical environmental was developed for mosquito behaviour on the assumption that a continuous multinomial reaction characterizes the build-up of a single activity cycle in the individual female. Statistical and ethological literature is reviewed in relation to experimental evidence for A. aegypti to show that quantal measurements of mosquito behaviour accord with recent hypotheses for behaviour pattern in insects. The pre-flight reactions in A. aegypti accord with the concept that response is mediated by interaction through the central nervous system.

Affiliations: 1: Imperial College of Science and Technology


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