Silk Moth Eclosion: Hormonal Triggering of a Centrally Programmed Pattern of Behavior

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Science  31 Mar 1972:
Vol. 175, Issue 4029, pp. 1491-1493
DOI: 10.1126/science.175.4029.1491


The emergence of the adult cecropia silk moth from the pupal skin involves a stereotyped series of abdominal movements—the pre-eclosion behavior. This behavior, triggered by a neurosecretory hormone, consists of three phases that are characterized by the relative frequency and pattern of movements. Electrical recordings from a nerve cord with severed peripheral nerves demonstrate that the pre-eclosion behavior is prepatterned in the abdominal ganglia. In response to the hormone, the entire 1.25-hour behavioral program can be activated and "read off" in the absence of sensory feedback.

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