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A Study of the Postural Variations in the Foreleg of Ranatra Linearis (Insecta Heteroptera)

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A correlation between the foreleg postures of Ranatra linearis, specific states of its alimentary canal linked with intestinal transport (checked by direct observation and dissection), and its responsiveness to an alimentary stimulus is described. The emptier the midgut, the more the forelegs are bent backwards towards the head and the further apart these two forelegs are one from the other. A study of the extinction of prey capture behaviour shows that the more the forelegs are bent backwards towards the head, (the smaller the coxa-femur angle) and the further apart the two forelegs one from the other, the more numerous the responses to repeated presentations of an alimentary stimulus will be. For a specific initial posture the responses to repeated presentations of an alimentary stimulus are less numerous if the model is presented in the part of the perceptual space above the forelegs (stimulating the visual receptors only) than if it is moved through the entire perceptual field (stimulating femoral mechanoreceptors as well as visual receptors). For a specific initial foreleg posture these responses will be more numerous if the behavioural sequence is interrupted nearer the beginning. The first responses in a series of presentations of an alimentary stimulus are always more complete than later responses. The duration of the intervals between two successive responses in a given series varies according to the initial posture of the forelegs, and so does the quantity of food eaten.

Affiliations: 1: (Laboratoire d'Ethologie, Université de Rennes, France

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