[From Kent McClelland (2012.09.13.1620)]
I was just taking a look at a recent publication by Heather Bell at the University of Lethbridge in BC:
Bell, Heather C., Kevin A. Judge, Erik A. Johnson, William H. Cade and Sergio M. Pellis. 2012. ï¿½How is a Cricket like a Rat? Insights from the Application of Cybernetics to Evasive Food Protective Behaviour.ï¿½ Animal Behaviour 84:843-851.
This is a really interesting article, because they show that crickets have the same kinds of robbing and dodging behaviors for protecting food as rats do (see the 2011 article by Bell & Pellis, "A cybernetic perspective on food protection in rats: simple rules can generate complex and adaptable behaviour") and that the dodging crickets, like rats, are controlling their perception of the distance separating them from the animal attempting to rob them of their food morsels.
The fact that both animals display the same pattern of control, even though the details of the behaviors are a little different due to morphological differences between the insect and the rodent, seems like strong evidence for the proposition that the principles of PCT apply to all kinds of animals, a conclusion that Bell and her associates endorse in their own discussion of the experiments.
I had a question about the experiments, however, and perhaps if Heather or Sergio or any of their team are monitoring this net, they could answer it for me.
The description of the cricket experiments says that they were done in darkness, with the movements of the animals recorded by a infrared video camera. Crickets have good eyes (at least that's what it says on a webpage I consulted!), but are their eyes so good that they can see in the dark? Or can their eyes pick up infrared waves, like the camera does? Or do they use some other sense organ, like their ears, to sense the approach of the robber? We know that without some kind of sensory feedback, it wouldn't be possible for them to control their distance from the robber.
Best to all,