New study in moths shows insects not entirely ruled by instinct

COLUMBUS, Ohio By examining the brain activity of moths, researchers have found that the behavior of these insects isn't ruled entirely by instinct. Rather, they can learn which odors mean food.

The findings are more than academic: The researchers hope to develop methods for using trained moths to detect odors of interest for defense industry and law enforcement such as odors given off by biological and chemical weapons.

Animal behaviorists have historically argued that most insects have a programmed response to a variety of situations, such as knowing which odors signal the presence of food and mates.

But scientists are discovering that animals don't always instinctively know what to do. In these cases, they have to learn, said Kevin Daly, the study's lead author and a research scientist in entomology at Ohio State University.

He and his colleagues used tiny electrodes implanted in the heads of sphinx moths to continuously monitor the insect's neuronal activity and feeding behavior before, during and after training the animal that one odor meant food sugar water was on the way and another odor did not.

"We saw a dramatic restructuring of the neural networks that convert scent into a code that the rest of the brain can understand," Daly said. "The changes in this coding suggest that the moths learned to differentiate between an odor that meant food and an odor that didn't."

Understanding how moths detect and discriminate between scents could have wide-reaching applications. In related work, Daly and his colleagues are training moths and bees to detect odors from manufactured explosives.

"In principle, if we can understand how insects learn and distinguish between odors, we could 'train' these animals to recognize any detectable odor of interest," he said.

The findings currently appear online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The electrodes placed in the moths'

Contact: Kevin Daly
Ohio State University

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Student science contest participation influences study, career choices, alumni say
2. New study shows hope for treating inhalant abuse
3. International study findings link acne-like rash to effectiveness of new targeted cancer treatment
4. Cigarette smoke causes breaks in DNA and defects to a cells chromosomes, Pitt study finds
5. New study indicates arsenic could be suitable as first-line treatment in type of leukaemia
6. Phase II trials of second-generation antisense cancer drug planned following successful early study
7. Preclinical safety study shows adipose-derived stem cells improve heart function after heart attack
8. Indiana University, EPA to study airborne PCBs
9. K-State, other universities to study how climate affects plant evolution
10. USC study links historical increases in life span to lower childhood exposure to infection
11. Washington University in St. Louis leads group studying aging process

Post Your Comments:
TAG: New study moths shows insects not entirely ruled instinct

(Date:9/2/2015)... Sept. 2, 2015 About hand geometry biometrics ... banks, government organizations, telecommunication and hospitals as well as ... badges, and numeric keypads are used to prevent unauthorised ... palm and fingers of an individual, width of the ... with infrared light and reflectors can be used for ...
(Date:8/31/2015)... August 31, 2015 Growing need ... in government digitization projects to drive India ... published TechSci Research report, " India Biometrics Market Forecast & ... is projected to grow at a CAGR of over ... anticipated on account of extensive use of biometric technology in ...
(Date:8/25/2015)... LAKE CITY and BELLEVUE, Wash. ... global leader in advanced robotic systems, announced today it ... robotic unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), at the National Tactical ... City.  The Guardian S is the ... the culmination of years of research and in-field trials ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Global Hand Geometry Biometrics Market 2015-2019 2Global Hand Geometry Biometrics Market 2015-2019 3India Biometrics Market to Grow at Over 35% Through 2020, Says TechSci Research 2India Biometrics Market to Grow at Over 35% Through 2020, Says TechSci Research 3Sarcos to Debut First-of-its-Kind Snake Robot 2Sarcos to Debut First-of-its-Kind Snake Robot 3
(Date:10/1/2015)... Oct. 1, 2015  xG Health Solutions, a ... xghealth.com, a new platform for communication and collaboration ... health systems and health plans improve the quality ... xG Health solutions, products and educational resources. ... and, as clinicians, we know the process of ...
(Date:10/1/2015)... ... October 01, 2015 , ... USDM Life Sciences , a ... it was selected by FDA to develop and implement a program for the Drug ... with FDA on this critical initiative for the life science and healthcare industries,” said ...
(Date:9/30/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Cambridge Semantics, the leading provider ... joined the Google for Work Partner Program as a Google Cloud Platform Technology ... dynamic infrastructures and this relationship allows the company to extend its robust smart ...
(Date:9/30/2015)... TORONTO , Sept. 30, 2015 Generex ... that it has entered into a non-binding Letter of ... www.rapid123.com ), a Florida company ... The LOI contemplates that Generex will acquire ... a purchase price of US$15,000,000 to be paid in ...
Breaking Biology Technology:xG Health Solutions Launches New Platform for Hospitals, Clinics and Health Plans 2USDM Life Sciences Chosen by FDA to Assess Pharmaceutical Readiness for Drug Supply Chain Security Act 2Cambridge Semantics Joins ‘Google for Work Partner Program’ as Cloud Platform Partner 2Generex Announces Agreement to Acquire Equity Interest in Hema Diagnostic Systems 2Generex Announces Agreement to Acquire Equity Interest in Hema Diagnostic Systems 3Generex Announces Agreement to Acquire Equity Interest in Hema Diagnostic Systems 4Generex Announces Agreement to Acquire Equity Interest in Hema Diagnostic Systems 5Generex Announces Agreement to Acquire Equity Interest in Hema Diagnostic Systems 6
Cached News: