Central processing of sex pheromone, host odour, and oviposition deterrent information by interneurons in the antennal lobe of female Spodoptera littoralis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

S Anton, B S Hansson
Journal of Comparative Neurology 1994 December 8, 350 (2): 199-214
Physiological and anatomical characteristics of antennal lobe interneurons in female Spodoptera littoralis (Boisd.) were investigated using intracellular recording and staining techniques. Responses of local interneurons and projection neurons to female sex pheromone components, host plant odours, and behaviourally active oviposition deterrents were recorded. We found local interneurons and projection neurons that responded specifically to only one or two of the tested odours, but we also found less specific cells, and neurons that responded to most of the tested odourants. These findings show that there are not only specific olfactory pathways in female moths up to the protocerebral level, but also that integration can begin in the antennal lobe. No correlation was found between the degree of specificity of either local interneurons or projection neurons and their respective morphological characteristics. Specialized and unspecialized local interneurons arborized throughout the antennal lobe. Specialized and unspecialized projection neurons had uniglomerular arborizations in the antennal lobe and sent their axons to the calyces of the mushroom body, and to the lateral horn of the protocerebrum. One specific projection neuron had multiglomerular arborizations and projected only to the lateral horn of the protocerebrum. Projection neurons arborizing in the glomeruli closest to the entrance of the antennal nerve always responded to pheromone components. No other correlations were found between the arborization pattern of projection neurons in the antennal lobe or in the protocerebrum and their response characteristics. The sensitivity of local interneurons and projection neurons was in the same range as that of receptor neurons in olfactory sensilla on the antennae, suggesting a much lower convergence in the central nervous system in females than in the pheromone-processing pathway in males.

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