Control of feeding in Aplysia with ad libitum access to food: Presence of food increases the intervals between feeding bouts

Itay Hurwitz, Anat Harel, Silvia Markowitz, Ohad Noy, Abraham J. Susswein

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8 Scopus citations


The patterning of feeding and the quantity eaten in Aplysia californica with ad libitum food access cannot be explained by the effects of three variables previously shown to control the patterning of consummatory feeding responses and the quantity eaten in animals hand-fed individual meals. Feeding in ad libitum conditions is regulated primarily by varying the time between feeding bouts rather than by modulating bout lengths or the efficacy of consummatory movements within a bout. Aplysia with steady-state food access are in a newly characterized feeding state in which they are relatively unresponsive to food. They eat very little (1-4% of the time), and the quantity eaten is unrelated to the quantity of food in the anterior gut. The steady state can be maintained by the presence of food, even if animals do not contact food. The chemosensory rhinophores signal the presence of food that maintains the steady state. Up to 24 h without food is needed for animals to recover from the inhibition of feeding by steady-state presence of food. Recovery from the steady state is partially governed by postingestion stimuli as shown by a faster recovery in animals that have not been in contact with food. Inhibition of feeding during the steady-state is mediated in part via humoral factors because bathing the cerebral and buccal ganglia in hemolymph from animals in the steady state inhibits the ability to elicit buccal motor programs via a cholinomimetic thought to simulate stimulation of the lips with food. After food deprivation that is sufficiently long so that the steady-state decays, animals eat a large meal the size and dynamics of which are consistent with regulation via the three variables previously identified. This large meal is modulated by pheromones secreted by conspecifics even in sexually immature Aplysia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


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