Behavioural differences in Locusta migratoria associated with albinism and their relation to [His7]-corazonin


Dr B. Hoste, Zoological Institute, K.U. Leuven, Naamsestraat 59, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium. Tel: +32 16 324260; fax: +32 16 323902; e-mail:


Abstract. The neuropeptide [His7]-corazonin induces black colouration in locusts, a feature typically occurring in gregarious animals. To date, the function of this neuropeptide in relation to phase transition has not been fully clarified. Unanswered questions on its involvement in behavioural and morphometrical phaseshifting and possible temperature-induced regulation still remain. In the African locust, Locusta migratoria migratorioides (Reiche and Fairmaire) (Orthoptera: Acrididae), the gregarious form possesses mainly a brown colouration with typical intense black pigmentation. To find a possible behavioural function, an albino L. migratoria mutant, deficient in [His7]-corazonin and thus lacking the typical gregarious colour, was used. Between these two phenotypes, nonphase specific behavioural differences in a phase-dependent behavioural set-up were found. Additionally, a wild-type of the Okinawa strain was screened behaviourally and located in comparison to the other groups. Treatment of albinos with corazonin induced normal phenotype behaviour. The degree of interference of corazonin in relation to these findings and a possible effect at the level of visual perception is discussed.