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  • Author or Editor: H. Watanabe x
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The ant, Formica japonica, is polyphagous and workers hunt other insects as foods. In this study, interspecific aggression was examined in the workers and queens. Behavior experiments demonstrated that interspecific aggressiveness was significantly higher in workers than queens. Workers showed predatory aggressive behavior towards crickets, on the other hand, queens elicited threat behavior but they didn’t attack crickets. In order to investigate neuronal mechanisms underlying regulation of aggressive motivation, the role of biogenic amine in the brain in evoking aggressive behavior was examined by measuring biogenic amine using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with electrochemical detection (ECD). No significant difference in the octopamine (OA) level was found between workers and queens, but the level of N-acetyloctopamine (NacOA) in the brain of queens was significantly higher than that of workers. This study suggests that OAergic system in the brain must involve in controlling aggressive motivation in the ants.

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Biogenic amine serotonin (5-HT) modulates various aspects of behaviors such as aggressive behavior and circadian behavior in the cricket. In our previous report, in order to elucidate the molecular basis of the cricket 5-HT system, we identified three genes involved in 5-HT biosynthesis, as well as four 5-HT receptor genes (5-HT 1A, 5-HT 1B, 5-HT , and 5-HT 7) expressed in the brain of the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus DeGeer [7]. In the present study, we identified Gryllus 5-HT gene, an additional 5-HT receptor gene expressed in the cricket brain, and examined its tissue-specific distribution and embryonic stagedependent expression. Gryllus 5-HT gene was ubiquitously expressed in the all examined adult tissues, and was expressed during early embryonic development, as well as during later stages. This study suggests functional differences between two 5-HT2 receptors in the cricket.

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Aggressive behavior of white-eye mutant crickets was investigated and compared with that of wild-type crickets. In the dark, wild-type pairs performed long-lasting fights with significantly higher aggressive levels compared to those in the light. In contrast, fights between two white-eye mutants were not significantly different with those between two wild-type crickets both in duration and the aggressive levels. Ethograms of aggressive behavior showed that the mutants could show typical sequentially escalating fight with the same behavioral categories as the wild-type crickets. These results indicate that the white-eye mutants are able to express normal aggressive behavior.

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