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Trends in Comparative Biochemistry & Physiology   Volumes    Volume 10 
Monitoring olfactory reception in blowfly pupae
Anna Maria Angioy, Iole Tomassini Barbarossa, Isabella Urru, Marco Tocchetti, Maria Dolores Setzu, Patrizia Muroni
Pages: 99 - 103
Number of pages: 5
Trends in Comparative Biochemistry & Physiology
Volume 10 

Copyright © 2004 Research Trends. All rights reserved


Cardiac activity changes in response to external sensory stimulation have been described as a sensitive mean for testing the responsiveness of several species of adult insects. In the present research study we have examined if cardiac responses to odour delivery could be detected in blowfly pupae as well, thus helping in evaluating their responsiveness to the chemical properties of the external environment. To this end we studied the regular activity of heart pupae and its variations following odour delivery.

Electrocardiograms were recorded on Protophormia terraenovae blowflies, 48 to 24 hours before adult emergence. Effects of odour application were tested by delivering air-containing vapours of ammonia or 1-hexanol on single pupae by means of a standard olfactometer.

Regular heart activity consisted of the alternation    of two phases of activity, easily distinguishable on the basis of opposite polarity and different amplitude and frequency of electric signals. Odour delivery induced a constant pattern of heart activity changes, consisting    of an immediate arrest of the phase at a higher signal frequency, the Fast phase, and a premature setting in    of the phase at a lower signal frequency, the Slow phase. Odour delivery was ineffective on the activity pattern of specimens on which functional ablation had been  performed  of  olfactory  organs,  i.e. the antennae and   maxillary  palps.   Results  show  that  the  cardiac response is an effective indicator of olfactory reception in blowfly pupae, thus representing a useful tool for testing the biological importance of the chemical environment during insect development.

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