The role of the cerebral ganglia in the venom-induced behavioral manipulation of cockroaches stung by the parasitoid jewel wasp Academic Article uri icon


  • The Jewel Wasp stings cockroaches and injects venom into their cerebral ganglia, namely, the subeosophageal ganglion (SOG) and supraeosophageal ganglion (SupOG). The venom induces a long-term hypokinetic state, during which the stung cockroach shows little or no spontaneous walking. It was shown that venom injection to the SOG reduces neuronal activity thereby suggesting a similar effect of venom injection in the SupOG. Paradoxically, SupOG-ablated cockroaches show increased spontaneous walking in comparison to control. Yet, most of the venom in the SupOG of cockroaches is primarily concentrated in and around the central complex (CX). Thus, the venom could chiefly decrease activity in the CX to contribute to the hypokinetic state. Our first aim was to resolve this discrepancy by using a combination of behavioral and neuro-pharmacological tools. Our results show that the CX is necessary for the initiation of spontaneous walking and that focal injection of procaine to the CX is sufficient to induce the decrease in spontaneous walking. Furthermore, it was shown that artificial venom injection to the SOG decreases walking. Hence, our second aim was to test the interactions between the SupOG and SOG in the venom-induced behavioral manipulation. We show that, in the absence of the inhibitory control of the SupOG on walking initiation, injection of venom in the SOG alone by the wasp is sufficient to induce the hypokinetic state. To summarize, we show that venom injection to either the SOG or the CX of the SupOG is, by itself, sufficient to decrease walking.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015