Beetles of the genus Melanophila are able to detect infrared radiation by using specialized sensilla in their metathoracic pit organs. We describe the afferent projections of the infrared-sensitive neurons in the central nervous system. The axons primarily terminate in the central neuropil of the fused second thoracic ganglia where they establish putative contacts with ascending interneurons. Only a few collaterals appear to be involved in local (uniganglionic) circuits. About half of the neurons send their axons further anterior to the prothoracic ganglion. A subset of these ascend to the subesophageal ganglion, and about 10% project to the brain. Anatomical similarities suggest that the infrared-sensitive neurons are derived from neurons supplying mechanosensory sensilla. The arborization pattern of the infrared afferents suggests that infrared information is processed and integrated upstream from the thoracic ganglia.
- Melanophila acuminata (Insecta)
- Thoracic ganglia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology