Analysis of coupling between optic lobe circadian pacemakers in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus

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The coupling mechanism between weakly coupled two optic lobe circadian pacemakers in the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus was investigated by recording the locomotor activity, under light-dark cycles with various lengths, after the optic nerve was unilaterally severed. The activity rhythm split into two components under the light cycles different from 24 h: one was readily entrained to the light cycle and the other only loosely entrained or freeran. Additional removal of the optic lobe on the intact side resulted in a loss of the entrained component and that on the blinded side caused the reverse effect, indicating that the entrained component was driven by the pacemaker on the intact side and the other by the one on the blinded side. The synchronization between the two components was achieved only in light cycles with a limited length between 23 and 25 h. Without this range, the desynchronization of the components occurred. In the split rhythm, the phase-dependent modulation of the period of freerunning component and the mutual suppression of locomotor activity during the subjective day phase were clearly observed. The suppression was also evident in the lights-on peak that was the masking effect of light. The light cycle with dim light significantly reduced the ratio of animals with the pacemaker coupling as well as the magnitude of the period modulation. These results suggest (1) that the mutual coupling is achieved only when the difference in the periods between the two pacemakers is within an allowable range, (2) that the photic information is also involved in the mechanism of mutual coupling, and (3) that the suppression of activity occurs at the regulatory center for locomotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-408
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 1 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Circadian rhythm
  • Cricket
  • Locomotor activity
  • Optic lobe
  • Pacemaker coupling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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