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Extremely low‐frequency electromagnetic fields entrain locust wing beats

Extremely low‐frequency electromagnetic fields entrain locust wing beats
Extremely low‐frequency electromagnetic fields entrain locust wing beats

Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMFs) have been shown to impact the behavior and physiology of insects. Recent studies have highlighted the need for more research to determine more specifically how they affect flying insects. Here, we ask how locust flight is affected by acute exposure to 50 Hz EMFs. We analyzed the flights of individual locusts tethered between a pair of copper wire coils generating EMFs of various frequency using high-speed video recording. The mean wingbeat frequency of tethered locusts was 18.92 ± 0.27 Hz. We found that acute exposure to 50 Hz EMFs significantly increased absolute change in wingbeat frequency in a field strength-dependent manner, with greater field strengths causing greater changes in wingbeat frequency. The effect of EMFs on wingbeat frequency depended on the initial wingbeat frequency of a locust, with locusts flying at a frequency lower than 20 Hz increasing their wingbeat frequency, while locusts flying with a wingbeat frequency higher than 20 Hz decreasing their wingbeat frequency. During the application of 50 Hz EMF, the wingbeat frequency was entrained to a 2:5 ratio (two wingbeat cycles to five EMF cycles) of the applied EMF. We then applied a range of ELF EMFs that were close to normal wingbeat frequency and found that locusts entrained to the exact frequency of the applied EMF. These results show that exposure to ELF EMFs lead to small but significant changes in wingbeat frequency in locusts. We discuss the biological implications of the coordination of insect flight in response to electromagnetic stimuli.

ELF electromagnetic fields, entrainment, flight, grasshopper, wingbeat
1521-186X
296-308
Shepherd, Sebastian
42dcec23-42cf-4941-8df0-fcb75da4223e
Jackson, Christopher
ab14e7be-1b25-4425-9e8f-6ccee5b984a8
Sharkh, Suleiman
c8445516-dafe-41c2-b7e8-c21e295e56b9
Aonuma, Hitoshi
a8b20ebb-d63c-4bd6-8a58-b0773ddaae10
Oliveira, E.E.
53335aeb-0698-4a22-bb48-33e604be4814
Newland, Philip
7a018c0e-37ba-40f5-bbf6-49ab0f299dbb
Shepherd, Sebastian
42dcec23-42cf-4941-8df0-fcb75da4223e
Jackson, Christopher
ab14e7be-1b25-4425-9e8f-6ccee5b984a8
Sharkh, Suleiman
c8445516-dafe-41c2-b7e8-c21e295e56b9
Aonuma, Hitoshi
a8b20ebb-d63c-4bd6-8a58-b0773ddaae10
Oliveira, E.E.
53335aeb-0698-4a22-bb48-33e604be4814
Newland, Philip
7a018c0e-37ba-40f5-bbf6-49ab0f299dbb

Shepherd, Sebastian, Jackson, Christopher, Sharkh, Suleiman, Aonuma, Hitoshi, Oliveira, E.E. and Newland, Philip (2021) Extremely low‐frequency electromagnetic fields entrain locust wing beats. Bioelectromagnetics, 42 (4), 296-308. (doi:10.1002/bem.22336).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMFs) have been shown to impact the behavior and physiology of insects. Recent studies have highlighted the need for more research to determine more specifically how they affect flying insects. Here, we ask how locust flight is affected by acute exposure to 50 Hz EMFs. We analyzed the flights of individual locusts tethered between a pair of copper wire coils generating EMFs of various frequency using high-speed video recording. The mean wingbeat frequency of tethered locusts was 18.92 ± 0.27 Hz. We found that acute exposure to 50 Hz EMFs significantly increased absolute change in wingbeat frequency in a field strength-dependent manner, with greater field strengths causing greater changes in wingbeat frequency. The effect of EMFs on wingbeat frequency depended on the initial wingbeat frequency of a locust, with locusts flying at a frequency lower than 20 Hz increasing their wingbeat frequency, while locusts flying with a wingbeat frequency higher than 20 Hz decreasing their wingbeat frequency. During the application of 50 Hz EMF, the wingbeat frequency was entrained to a 2:5 ratio (two wingbeat cycles to five EMF cycles) of the applied EMF. We then applied a range of ELF EMFs that were close to normal wingbeat frequency and found that locusts entrained to the exact frequency of the applied EMF. These results show that exposure to ELF EMFs lead to small but significant changes in wingbeat frequency in locusts. We discuss the biological implications of the coordination of insect flight in response to electromagnetic stimuli.

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bem.22336
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Accepted/In Press date: 16 March 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 6 April 2021
Published date: May 2021
Additional Information: Funding Information: We are grateful to Emmanuela Howard for carrying out initial feasibility studies.?This work was supported by awards from the Science without Borders Program of the CAPES Foundation (Finance Code 001) and from the Minas Gerais State Foundation for Research Aid (FAPEMIG; APQ-0028-15) and Southampton University to PLN and EEO. SS was funded by a Mayflower Studentship from the University of Southampton. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 The Authors. Bioelectromagnetics published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Bioelectromagnetics Society.
Keywords: ELF electromagnetic fields, entrainment, flight, grasshopper, wingbeat

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 448401
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/448401
ISSN: 1521-186X
PURE UUID: 3f2a10ae-d2de-49b2-86ba-1e939830f8dc
ORCID for Suleiman Sharkh: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7335-8503
ORCID for Philip Newland: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4124-8507

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Date deposited: 21 Apr 2021 16:33
Last modified: 31 Aug 2022 01:36

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Contributors

Author: Sebastian Shepherd
Author: Suleiman Sharkh ORCID iD
Author: Hitoshi Aonuma
Author: E.E. Oliveira
Author: Philip Newland ORCID iD

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