Mushroom bodies of the cockroach: Their participation in place memory

Makoto Mizunami, Josette M. Weibrecht, Nicholas J. Strausfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

241 Scopus citations


Insects and other arthropods use visual landmarks to remember the location of their nest, or its equivalent. However, so far, only olfactory learning and memory have been claimed to be mediated by any particular brain region, notably the mushroom bodies. Here we describe the results of experiments that demonstrate that the mushroom bodies of the cockroach (Periplaneta americana), already shown to be involved in multimodal sensory processing, play a crucial role in place memory. Behavioral tests, based on paradigms similar to those originally used to demonstrate place memory in rats, demonstrate a rapid improvement in the ability of individual cockroaches to locate a hidden target when its position is provided by distant visual cues. Bilateral lesions of selected areas of the mushroom bodies abolish this ability but leave unimpaired the ability to locate a visible target. The present results demonstrate that the integrity of the pedunculus and medial lobe of a single mushroom body is required for place memory. The results are comparable to the results obtained from hippocampal lesions in rats and are relevant to recent studies on the effects of ablations of Drosophila mushroom bodies on locomotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)520-537
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 28 1998


  • Insect brain
  • Insect vision
  • Learning
  • Microlesions
  • Motor control
  • β-lobes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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