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Natural Odor Processing in Fruit Flies

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Fruit flies show a strong attraction to fruit odors. Most fruit odors, including strawberry scent, are complex multimolecular mixtures comprised of many chemically distinct constituents. How animals are able to process these mixtures and derive behaviorally relevant information is

Fruit flies show a strong attraction to fruit odors. Most fruit odors, including strawberry scent, are complex multimolecular mixtures comprised of many chemically distinct constituents. How animals are able to process these mixtures and derive behaviorally relevant information is largely unknown. A new procedure was created to test odor preference for Heisenberg canton-s strain of Drosophila melanogaster. 30 flies were cold anesthetized at 4.2°C for 30 minutes and then placed in a testing arena. After acclimating for 45 minutes, the flies were exposed to two sources of air, one with ripe strawberry odor and one with only humidified air. Images were captured every minute for an hour and a preference index was calculated for every 10th image. The Drosophila had a positive average preference for the strawberry odor. Five out of six trials showed a general increase in odor preference over the course of the trial. While there was a generally positive trend for average preference over time, there was not a significant increase in average odor preference from time 1 to time 60. The data indicates that Drosophila show a preference for strawberry odor over humidified air, and we propose to extend this test to investigate how Drosophila process and react to complex odors and their chemical constituents.

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2017-05

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The Sensory Basis of Olfactory Detection in the Dampwood Termite, Zootermopsis Nevadensis

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ABSTRACT Communication is vital in the context of everyday life for all organisms, but particularly so in social insects, such as Z. nevadensis. The overall lifestyle and need for altruistic acts of individuals within a colony depends primarily on intracolony

ABSTRACT Communication is vital in the context of everyday life for all organisms, but particularly so in social insects, such as Z. nevadensis. The overall lifestyle and need for altruistic acts of individuals within a colony depends primarily on intracolony chemical communication, with a focus on odorants. The perception of these odorants is made possible by the chemoreceptive functions of sensilla basiconica and sensilla trichoid which exist on the antennal structure. The present study consists of both a morphological analysis and electrophysiological experiment concerning sensilla basiconica. It attempts to characterize the function of neurons present in sensilla basiconica through single sensillum recordings and contributes to existing literature by determining if a social insect, such as the dampwood termite, is able to perceive a wide spectrum of odorants despite having significantly fewer olfactory receptors than most other social insect species. Results indicated that sensilla basiconica presence significantly out-paced that of sensilla trichoid and sensilla chaetica combined, on all flagellomeres. Analysis demonstrated significant responses to all general odorants and several cuticular hydrocarbons. Combined with the knowledge of fewer olfactory receptors present in this species and their lifestyle, results may indicate a positive association between the the social complexity of an insect's lifestyle and the number of ORs the individuals within that colony possess.

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2015-05