The strike of a praying mantis's forelegs is so fast that, once they are set in motion, the mantis cannot control its aim. How does it ever manage to catch a fly? A moth negotiating the night air hears the squeak of a hunting bat on the wing, and tumbles out of harm's way. How?
Insects are ideal subjects for neurophysiological studies, and at its simplest level this classic book relates the activities of nerve cells to the activities of insects, something that had never been attempted when the book first appeared in 1963. In several elegant experiments--on the moth, the cockroach, and the praying mantis--Roeder shows how stimulus and behavior are related through the nervous system and suggests that the insect brain appears to control behavior by determining which of the various built-in activity patterns will appear in a given situation. This slim volume remains invaluable to an understanding of the nervous mechanisms responsible for insect behavior.
How do nerve impulses that are generated by an insect's sensory cells determine its behaviour? Answers to this question had begun to emerge in the 1960s, when Kenneth Roeder wrote this short but insightful book. The volume consists of a series of self-contained essays which build an awesome account of how insects sense the world...The publication of this book was recognised as a landmark event 35 years ago. Its great depth of insight, explanatory power and unique charm ensure that it will continue to appeal to non-specialists and inspire researchers for many more years. A true classic.
Praise for the first edition:
Some of us have been lucky enough to be in a laboratory during a period when we felt, nay, when we knew, that a secret of Nature was being unraveled, that new relationships were being discovered and understood. There is an electric tension in the air, an exhilaration...and we become impatient with our own limitations of energy. That is 'contagious excitement,' and it can be found in this little book.
Roeder's surpassing work is the little volume you hold in your hands. Nerve Cells and Insect Behavior ...is a very personal exploration of insect neuroethology. It is a collection of first-hand accounts of trailblazing experimental investigations of the neural mechanisms underlying specific behaviors of insects. Roeder tells these stories in a clear, lively, and engaging style, and the timeless impact of this book can be profound.
- 256 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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