Insect neural networks have been widely and successfully employed as model systems in the study of the neural basis of behavior. The insect frontal ganglion is a principal part of the stomatogastric nervous system and is found in most insect orders. The frontal ganglion constitutes a major source of innervation to foregut muscles and plays a key role in the control of foregut movements. Following a brief description of the anatomy and development of the system in different insect groups, this review presents the current knowledge of the way neural networks in the insect frontal ganglion generate and control behavior. The frontal ganglion is instrumental in two distinct and fundamental insect behaviors: feeding and molting. Central pattern-generating circuit(s) within the frontal ganglion generates foregut rhythmic motor patterns. The frontal ganglion networks can be modulated in-vitro by several neuromodulators to generate a variety of motor outputs. Chemical modulation as well as sensory input from the gut and input from other neural centers enable the frontal ganglion to induce foregut rhythmic patterns under different physiological conditions. Frontal ganglion neurons themselves are also an important source of neurosecretion. The neurosecretory material from the frontal ganglion can control and modulate motor patterns of muscles of the alimentary canal. The current and potential future importance of the insect stomatogastric nervous system and frontal ganglion in the study of the neural mechanisms of behavior are discussed.
- Central pattern generator
- Feeding behavior
- Frontal ganglion
- Manduca sexta
- Stomatogastric nervous system