Photoperiodic time measurement and a graded response in a cockroach.

Wassmer GT, Page TL
J Biol Rhythms. 1993 8 (1): 47-56

PMID: 8490210 · DOI:10.1177/074873049300800104

Almost exclusively, photoperiodic insects respond to a given photoperiod in one of two ways: a "long-day" response or a "short-day" response. Intermediate responses occur only at a very restricted range of photoperiods (often less than 30 min) and are generally population phenomena rather than intermediate responses of individuals. In contrast, individuals of the wood roach, Parcoblatta pennsylvanica, show intermediate responses over a broad range of photoperiods. We examined the effect of constant light, constant darkness, and photoperiods ranging from 10 to 18 hr of light per 24 hr on growth rate as measured by weight gain, and found a robust photoperiodic response. Nymphs raised in photoperiods with light periods (photophases) from 0 to 12 hr gained little weight, whereas those in LD 18:6 were almost 15 times heavier. This is the first report of a photoperiodic response curve for a cockroach. Interestingly, there was a linear relationship between the duration of the photophase and weight gain over a broad range of photoperiods (LD 12:12 to LD 18:6; r2 = 0.99). Statistical analysis showed that the intermediate responses were attributable to individuals' growing at an intermediate rate. Another interesting observation was that all larval stages appeared to be capable of perceiving and responding to photoperiodic signals. The results of further experiments using non-24-hr photoperiods were consistent with the existence of a circadian component in the photoperiodic time measurement in this species.

MeSH Terms (10)

Analysis of Variance Animals Body Weight Circadian Rhythm Cockroaches Darkness Growth Larva Light Photoperiod

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