Rhythmic behaviour and pattern-generating circuits in the locust: Key concepts and recent updates

Amir Ayali, Angela B. Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is growing recognition that rhythmic activity patterns are widespread in our brain and play an important role in all aspects of the functioning of our nervous system, from sensory integration to central processing and motor control. The study of the unique properties that enable central circuits to generate their rhythmic output in the absence of any patterned, sensory or descending, inputs, has been very rewarding in the relatively simple invertebrate preparations. The locust, specifically, is a remarkable example of an organism in which central pattern generator (CPG) networks have been suggested and studied in practically all aspects of their behaviour. Here we present an updated overview of the various rhythmic behaviours in the locust and aspects of their neural control. We focus on the fundamental concepts of multifunctional neuronal circuits, neural centre interactions and neuromodulation of CPG networks. We are certain that the very broad and solid knowledge base of locust rhythmic behaviour and pattern-generating circuits will continue to expand and further contribute to our understanding of the principles behind the functioning of the nervous system and, indeed, the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-843
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Locust
  • Neuronal circuits
  • Pattern generators
  • Rhythmic behaviour


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