The effects of rearing conditions on the functional recovery of wind-sensitive giant interneurons (GIs) after unilateral cercal ablation were investigated in the cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus. Crickets were reared in a glass vials to prohibit free walking for 14 days after unilateral cercal ablation (“14-day vial” crickets). Other crickets were reared in an apparatus called a “walking inducer” (WI) to increase the walking distance during the same 14-day period (“14-day WI” crickets). In these crickets, the response properties of GIs 8-1, 9-1, 9-2, and 9-3 to air currents from various directions were investigated. From the intensity-response curves obtained, directionality curves expressed in terms of threshold velocity and response magnitude were made independently. To understand changes in the functional recovery of GIs more thoroughly, the directional characteristics of GIs in crickets 1 day after unilateral cercal ablation (“1-day free” crickets) were also compared. Between the 1-day free and 14-day vial crickets, all the GIs showed differences in both threshold velocity and response magnitude for some stimulus directions. Between the 14-day vial and 14-day WI crickets, differences in the threshold velocities of GIs 9-1, 9-2, and 9-3, and in the response magnitudes of GIs 8-1, 9-1, and 9-3 were detected. Because the rearing condition after unilateral cercal ablation largely affects the compensatory recovery in some parameters of wind-evoked escape behavior, such as relative occurrence and escape direction, we discuss the functional differences in GIs revealed here in relation to the roles of GIs in the neural system that controls escape behavior.
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