Sensory feedback in cockroach locomotion: current knowledge and open questions

A. Ayali, E. Couzin-Fuchs, I. David, O. Gal, P. Holmes, D. Knebel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, provides a successful model for the study of legged locomotion. Sensory regulation and the relative importance of sensory feedback vs. central control in animal locomotion are key aspects in our understanding of locomotive behavior. Here we introduce the cockroach model and describe the basic characteristics of the neural generation and control of walking and running in this insect. We further provide a brief overview of some recent studies, including mathematical modeling, which have contributed to our knowledge of sensory control in cockroach locomotion. We focus on two sensory mechanisms and sense organs, those providing information related to loading and unloading of the body and the legs, and leg-movement-related sensory receptors, and present evidence for the instrumental role of these sensory signals in inter-leg locomotion control. We conclude by identifying important open questions and indicate future perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)841-850
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


This work was supported by BSF grant No. 2011059 (AA and PH), and by NSF-CRCNS DMS-1430077 and Princeton University under the J. Insley Blair Pyne Fund (EC-F and PH).

FundersFunder number
Bloom's Syndrome Foundation
National Science Foundation1062052
Princeton University
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation2011059


    • Campaniform sensilla
    • Chordotonal organ
    • Feedback control
    • Periplaneta americana
    • Proprioception


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