Moths of both sexes of Empyreuma affinis (=pugione) and Syntomeida epilais (Arctiidae, Ctenuchinae), Maenas jussiae (Arctiidae, Arctiinae) and Spodoptera frugiperda (Noctuidae, Amphipyrinae) were studied. Spike activity in the A1 cell was recorded using a stainless-steel hook electrode from the tympanic nerve in the mesothorax. Acoustic stimuli consisting of 25 and 100 ms pulses at the best frequency for the species and at intensities that evoke A1 cell saturation response were used at repetition rates of 0.5 and 5 Hz for 100 ms stimuli, and between 2 and 20 Hz for 25 ms stimuli. Stimuli at a repetition rate corresponding to a duty cycle of 5 % (25 ms at 2 Hz and 100 ms at 0.5 Hz) did not evoke monotonic changes in the responses of the A1 cell. With 25 ms pulses, rates above 5 Hz evoked an exponential decrease in the number of spikes and an increase in the latency of the responses of all the 37 specimens tested. The response duration showed no apparent change with stimulus repetition rates even at the highest duty cycle used (50 %), i.e. 25 ms at 20 Hz and 100 ms at 5 Hz. The higher the rate of stimulus repetition, the more marked were the changes in the A1 cell responses. In 16 of 17 preparations from two species, habituation had no effect on the adaptation rate in each response, while in seven of eight specimens of another species, the adaptation rate decreased with stimulus repetition. These results, and those from another mechanoreceptor cell, indicate that receptor cell adaptation (changes evoked in the response by a stimulus of constant intensity) and habituation (changes in the responses due to stimulus repetition rate) are two distinctive phenomena. The A1 cell in its habituated state showed an increase in its response to incremental increases in stimulus intensity of 10 dB. This result supports the idea that receptor cell habituation does not seem to be due to fatigue, i.e. to a temporary loss of the ability to respond to stimulation induced in a sensory receptor by continued stimulation.

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