Amblypygids are nocturnal arthropods which live in cluttered habitats and possess the ability to navigate home after displacements of up to ten meters. Homing amblypygids rely on olfactory and tactile information gathered by their antenniform legs to navigate successfully. Given that odor signals encountered in nature are complex and dynamic, navigation via olfaction presents unique challenges related to signal uncertainty. To understand how amblypygids perceive perceive complex odors and what they learn from them, individuals of the subtropical amblypygid P. marginemaculatus were trained to associate a blend of two odors with a shelter and tested on three treatments: the reinforced blend (AB+ v. CD-) and each of its elements presented in isolation (A v. CD-) (B vs. CD-). The animals spent more time near entrances to shelters cued with both the learned blend and its individual elements than the shelter cued with the unconditioned stimulus. There was no effect of treatment, as behavior between the three treatments did not vary. Therefore, elemental information of the odor blends was preserved by amblypygids and used to facilitate shelter recognition, but there is no evidence that paired odor stimuli form configural representations to aid in navigation.
Dr. Daniel Wiegmann
First Advisor Department
Dr. Verner Bingman
Second Advisor Department
Bostelman, Nathan, "Use of intramodal odor cues in shelter recognition by an amblypygid" (2022). Honors Projects. 814.