A method for selective stimulation of leg chemoreceptors in whole crustaceans
AbstractThe integration of sensory information with adequate motor outputs is critical for animal survival. Here, we present an innovative technique based on a non-invasive closed-circuit device consisting of a perfusion/stimulation chamber chronically applied on a single leg of the crayfish Procambarus clarkii. Using this technique, we focally stimulated the leg inside the chamber and studied the leg-dependent sensory-motor integration involving other sensory appendages, such as antennules and maxillipeds, which remain unstimulated outside the chamber. Results show that the stimulation of a single leg with chemicals, such as disaccharides, is sufficient to trigger a complex search behaviour involving locomotion coupled with the reflex activation of antennules and maxillipeds. This technique can be easily adapted to other decapods and/or other sensory appendages. Thus, it has opened possibilities for studying sensory-motor integration evoked by leg stimulation in whole aquatic animals under natural conditions to supplement, with a direct approach, current ablation/silencing techniques.
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