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The Sense Organs Employed By Cockroaches in Mating Behavior

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In Nauphoeta cinerea, Leucophaea maderae, and Byrsotria fumigata, female sexual behavior (mounting and "feeding" on the male's terga) is released by a male sex pheromone. The antennae serve as distance receptors for the male odor. The female's ability to detect and respond to the male rapidly can be correlated with distribution of thin-walled chemoreceptive sensilla on certain segments of the antennae. The mounting and feeding response of N. cinerea females to extracts of males was similarly correlated with the distribution of antennal chemoreceptive sensilla. In females of N. cinerea and L. maderae sensilla on the terminal segments of the maxillary and labial palps are capable of detecting the male in the absence of antennae. In B. fumigata females the antennae alone appear capable of detecting the male. Pycnoscelus surinamensis is unique in that headless females can mate. This is explained by the fact that the females do not feed on the male's terga prior to copulation. After ablation of various sense organs, the behavior of males of N. cinerea, L. maderae, and B. fumigata, differs from that of the females in that it is impossible to eliminate mating. The antennae bear the receptors which provide information promoting a rapid response to females. However, the maxillary and labial palps, and the cerci (except in B. fumigata) also play a role; the importance of these organs is shown only by combined removal with the antennae. The difficulty in eliminating mating in males of N. cinerea and L. maderae may be partly due to the fact that release of male courtship is not dependent upon stimuli from the female; these males may be induced to court by contact with other males. However, this is rare in B. fumigata and other sense organs (e.g., on the mouthparts other than the palps) may possibly be stimulated by the female sex pheromone. In P. surinamensis, the olfactory response to female sex pheromone is clearly correlated with distribution of chemoreceptive sensilla on the male's antennae. However, after bilateral antennectomy. the maxillary palps are capable of detecting the female on contact.

Affiliations: 1: Pioneering Research Division, U. S. Army Natick Laboratories, Natick, Mass., U.S.A; 2: Pioneering Research Division, U. S. Army Natick Laboratories, Natick, Mass., U.S.A, Department of Zoology, The University of Texas, Austin, Texas, U.S.A


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