GUERENSTEIN Pablo Gustavo
An inside look at the sensory biology of triatomines
BARROZO, R; REISENMAN CE; GUERENSTEIN PG; LAZZARI CR; LORENZO MG
JOURNAL OF INSECT PHYSIOLOGY
PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2017 vol. 97 p. 3 - 19
Although kissing bugs (Triatominae: Reduviidae) are perhaps best known as vectors of Chagas disease, they are important experimental models in studies of insect sensory physiology, pioneered by the seminal studies of Wigglesworth and Gillet more than eighty years ago. Since then, many investigations have revealed that the thermal, hygric, visual and olfactory senses play critical roles in the orientation of these blood-sucking insects towards hosts. Here we review the current knowledge about the role of these sensory systems, focussing on relevant stimuli, sensory structures, receptor physiology and the molecular players involved in the complex and cryptic behavioural repertoire of these nocturnal insects. Odours are particularly relevant, as they are involved in host search and are used for sexual, aggregation and alarm communication. Tastants are critical for a proper recognition of hosts, food and conspecifics. Heat and relative humidity mediate orientation towards hosts and are also important for the selection of resting places. Vision, which mediates negative phototaxis and flight dispersion, is also critical for modulating shelter use and mediating escape responses. The molecular bases underlying the detection of sensory stimuli started to be uncovered by means of functional genetics due to both the recent publication of the genome sequence of Rhodnius prolixus and the availability of modern genome editing techniques.