Place memory in crickets

J. Wessnitzer, Michael Mangan, B. Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Certain insect species are known to relocate nest or food sites using landmarks, but the generality of this capability among insects, and whether insect place memory can be used in novel task settings, is not known. We tested the ability of crickets to use surrounding visual cues to relocate an invisible target in an analogue of the Morris water maze, a standard paradigm for spatial memory tests on rodents. Adult female Gryllus bimaculatus were released into an arena with a floor heated to an aversive temperature, with one hidden cool spot. Over 10 trials, the time taken to find the cool spot decreased significantly. The best performance was obtained when a natural scene was provided on the arena walls. Animals can relocate the position from novel starting points. When the scene is rotated, they preferentially approach the fictive target position corresponding to the rotation. We note that this navigational capability does not necessarily imply the animal has an internal spatial representation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-921
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
Issue number1637
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • insect learning
  • visual navigation
  • place memory
  • cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus)
  • homing algorithms


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