Journal of Comparative Physiology A

http://link.springer.com/journal/359

List of Papers (Total 139)

Comparing the face inversion effect in crows and humans

Humans show impaired recognition of faces that are presented upside down, a phenomenon termed face inversion effect, which is thought to reflect the special relevance of faces for humans. Here, we investigated whether a phylogenetically distantly related avian species, the carrion crow, with similar socio-cognitive abilities to human and non-human primates, exhibits a face ...

High contrast sensitivity for visually guided flight control in bumblebees

Many insects rely on vision to find food, to return to their nest and to carefully control their flight between these two locations. The amount of information available to support these tasks is, in part, dictated by the spatial resolution and contrast sensitivity of their visual systems. Here, we investigate the absolute limits of these visual properties for visually guided ...

Take time: odor coding capacity across sensory neurons increases over time in Drosophila

Due to the highly efficient olfactory code, olfactory sensory systems are able to reliably encode enormous numbers of olfactory stimuli. The olfactory code consists of combinatorial activation patterns across sensory neurons, thus its capacity exceeds the number of involved classes of sensory neurons by a manifold. Activation patterns are not static but vary over time, caused by ...

Relative weighting of acoustic information during mating decisions in grasshoppers indicates signatures of sexual selection

The decision with whom to mate is crucial in determining an individual’s fitness and is often based on the evaluation of visual or acoustic displays produced during courtship. Accordingly, the algorithms for evaluating such courtship signals are shaped by sexual selection and should reflect the expected benefits and costs of mating: signals bearing heterospecific features should be ...

The bee, the flower, and the electric field: electric ecology and aerial electroreception

Bees and flowering plants have a long-standing and remarkable co-evolutionary history. Flowers and bees evolved traits that enable pollination, a process that is as important to plants as it is for pollinating insects. From the sensory ecological viewpoint, bee–flower interactions rely on senses such as vision, olfaction, humidity sensing, and touch. Recently, another sensory ...

Bio-logging, new technologies to study conservation physiology on the move: a case study on annual survival of Himalayan vultures

Bio-logging, the on-animal deployment of miniaturised electronic data recorders, allows for the study of location, body position, and physiology of individuals throughout their ontogeny. For terrestrial animals, 1 Hz GPS-position, 3D-body acceleration, and ambient temperature provide standard data to link to the physiology of life histories. Environmental context is added at ever ...

Radical-pair-based magnetoreception in birds: radio-frequency experiments and the role of cryptochrome

The radical-pair hypothesis of magnetoreception has gained a lot of momentum, since the flavoprotein cryptochrome was postulated as a structural candidate to host magnetically sensitive chemical reactions. Here, we first discuss behavioral tests using radio-frequency magnetic fields (0.1–10 MHz) to specifically disturb a radical-pair-based avian magnetic compass sense. While ...

Candidate genes for migration do not distinguish migratory and non-migratory birds

Migratory traits in birds have been shown to have a strong heritable component and several candidate genes have been suggested to control these migratory traits. To investigate if the genetic makeup of one or a set of these candidate genes can be used to identify a general pattern between migratory and non-migratory birds, we extracted genomic sequence data for 25 hypothesised ...

Atmospheric conditions create freeways, detours and tailbacks for migrating birds

The extraordinary adaptations of birds to contend with atmospheric conditions during their migratory flights have captivated ecologists for decades. During the 21st century technological advances have sparked a revival of research into the influence of weather on migrating birds. Using biologging technology, flight behaviour is measured across entire flyways, weather radar networks ...

Drosophila Rhodopsin 7 can partially replace the structural role of Rhodopsin 1, but not its physiological function

Rhodopsin 7 (Rh7), a new invertebrate Rhodopsin gene, was discovered in the genome of Drosophila melanogaster in 2000 and thought to encode for a functional Rhodopsin protein. Indeed, Rh7 exhibits most hallmarks of the known Rhodopsins, except for the G-protein-activating QAKK motif in the third cytoplasmic loop that is absent in Rh7. Here, we show that Rh7 can partially substitute ...

Route simulations, compass mechanisms and long-distance migration flights in birds

Bird migration has fascinated humans for centuries and routes crossing the globe are now starting to be revealed by advanced tracking technology. A central question is what compass mechanism, celestial or geomagnetic, is activated during these long flights. Different approaches based on the geometry of flight routes across the globe and route simulations based on predictions from ...

How bumblebees use lateral and ventral optic flow cues for position control in environments of different proximity

Flying insects frequently navigate through environments of different complexity. In this study, buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris L.) were trained to fly along tunnels of different widths, from 60 to 240 cm. In tunnel widths of 60 and 120 cm, bumblebees control their lateral position by balancing the magnitude of translational optic flow experienced in the lateral visual ...

Actogram analysis of free-flying migratory birds: new perspectives based on acceleration logging

The use of accelerometers has become an important part of biologging techniques for large-sized birds with accelerometer data providing information about flight mode, wing-beat pattern, behaviour and energy expenditure. Such data show that birds using much energy-saving soaring/gliding flight like frigatebirds and swifts can stay airborne without landing for several months. ...

Multispectral images of flowers reveal the adaptive significance of using long-wavelength-sensitive receptors for edge detection in bees

Many pollinating insects acquire their entire nutrition from visiting flowers, and they must therefore be efficient both at detecting flowers and at recognizing familiar rewarding flower types. A crucial first step in recognition is the identification of edges and the segmentation of the visual field into areas that belong together. Honeybees and bumblebees acquire visual ...

To transduce a zebra finch: interrogating behavioral mechanisms in a model system for speech

The ability to alter neuronal gene expression, either to affect levels of endogenous molecules or to express exogenous ones, is a powerful tool for linking brain and behavior. Scientists continue to finesse genetic manipulation in mice. Yet mice do not exhibit every behavior of interest. For example, Mus musculus do not readily imitate sounds, a trait known as vocal learning and a ...

Behavioral pieces of neuroethological puzzles

In this review, I give a first-person account of surprising insights that have come from the behavioral dimension of neuroethological studies in my laboratory. These studies include the early attempts to understand the function of the nose in star-nosed moles and to explore its representation in the neocortex. This led to the discovery of a somatosensory fovea that parallels the ...

The optomotor response of the praying mantis is driven predominantly by the central visual field

The optomotor response has been widely used to investigate insect sensitivity to contrast and motion. Several studies have revealed the sensitivity of this response to frequency and contrast, but we know less about the spatial integration underlying this response. Specifically, few studies have investigated how the horizontal angular extent of stimuli influences the optomotor ...

Neural control and precision of flight muscle activation in Drosophila

Precision of motor commands is highly relevant in a large context of various locomotor behaviors, including stabilization of body posture, heading control and directed escape responses. While posture stability and heading control in walking and swimming animals benefit from high friction via ground reaction forces and elevated viscosity of water, respectively, flying animals have ...

Photoreceptor spectral tuning by colorful, multilayered facet lenses in long-legged fly eyes (Dolichopodidae)

The facet lenses of the compound eyes of long-legged flies (Dolichopodidae) feature a striking, interlaced coloration pattern, existing of alternating rows of green-yellow and orange-red reflecting facets, due to dielectric multilayers located distally in the facet lenses (Bernard and Miller. Invest Ophthalmol 7:416–434 (1968). We investigated this phenomenon in the dolichopodid ...

The flicker fusion frequency of budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) revisited

While color vision and spatial resolution have been studied in many bird species, less is known about the temporal aspects of bird vision. High temporal resolution has been described in three species of passerines but it is unknown whether this is specific to passerines, to small actively flying birds, to insectivores or to birds living in bright habitats. Temporal resolution of ...

Aerial low-frequency hearing in captive and free-ranging harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) measured using auditory brainstem responses

The hearing sensitivity of 18 free-ranging and 10 captive harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) to aerial sounds was measured in the presence of typical environmental noise through auditory brainstem response measurements. A focus was put on the comparative hearing sensitivity at low frequencies. Low- and mid-frequency thresholds appeared to be elevated in both captive and free-ranging ...

Stingless bees (Meliponini): senses and behavior

Stingless bees (Hymenoptera, Apidae, Meliponini) are by far the largest group of eusocial bees on Earth. Due to the diversity of evolutionary responses to specific ecological challenges, the Meliponini are well suited for comparative studies of the various adaptations to the environment found in highly eusocial bees. Of particular interest are the physiological mechanisms ...

Body size limits dim-light foraging activity in stingless bees (Apidae: Meliponini)

Stingless bees constitute a species-rich tribe of tropical and subtropical eusocial Apidae that act as important pollinators for flowering plants. Many foraging tasks rely on vision, e.g. spatial orientation and detection of food sources and nest entrances. Meliponini workers are usually small, which sets limits on eye morphology and thus quality of vision. Limitations are expected ...