Studies of neurospecificity in the cricket cercal sensory system are reviewed and a decade of experimentation is examined in the light of recently obtained anatomical data. The nearly complete description of the anatomy indicates that the excitatory receptive fields of directionally-selective interneurones are a joint function of an orderly afferent projection and the dendritic structure of the first order interneurones. The detailed understanding of the anatomy is shown to be a powerful tool in the interpretation of previously published physiological experiments and the design of new ones. The mechanisms which shape the orderly afferent projection are then described and compared with the work on vertebrate sensory systems. It is concluded that both positional interactions of the type conceived by Sperry (1963) and competitive interactions of the type conceived by Hubel, Wiesel & LeVay (1977) are involved in producing the cercal afferent projection. Thus the two main components of the neurospecificity concept are shown to exist in the cricket nervous system. The limits of a purely anatomical approach to the study of neurospecificity are considered in light of the work on this cricket sensory system.

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