Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Kevin Daly

Committee Member

Andrew Dacks

Committee Member

Gary Marsat

Committee Member

Sarah Farris

Committee Member

Sergiy Yakovenko


Environmental pressures have conferred species specific behavioral and morphological traits to optimize reproductive success. To optimally interact with their environment, nervous systems have evolved motor-to-sensory circuits that mediate the processing of its own reafference. Moth flight behavioral patterns to odor sources are stereotyped, presumably to optimize the likelihood of interacting with the odor source. In the moth Manduca sexta wing beating causes oscillatory flow of air over the antenna; because of this, odorant-antennal interactions are oscillatory in nature. Electroantennogram recordings on antennae show that the biophysical properties of their spiking activity can effectively track odors presented at the wing beat frequency. Psychophysical experiments using Manduca show that when odors are pulsed, as opposed to presented as a continuous stream, detection and discrimination thresholds are lowered. In this study, we characterized histamine immunoreactivity in the thoracic ganglia and brain of Manduca. We generated antibodies for and characterized the distribution of the histamine B receptor, the first known antibody for this receptor protein. Our results show an elaborate pair of neurons projecting from the mesothoracic ganglion to the brain, including axon innervation of the antennal lobe and antennal mechanosensory and motor centers. Additionally, histamine B receptor labeling overlapped with a subset of GABAergic and peptidergic local interneurons. Next, we characterized the response properties of these cells within the context of fictive flight behavior and found a tonic increase in activity. Furthermore, disrupting this circuit, with surgical ablation and pharmacology, disrupts antennal lobe projection neurons from entraining to odors presented at a natural 20 Hz frequency, as well as behavioral measures of detection and discrimination thresholds. Finally, we characterized the relationship between motor patterns/behaviors, and circuit structure of this pair of histamine immunoreactive neurons. Specifically, presence of MDHn axon collaterals entering the antennal lobe is correlated with olfactory-guided target approach behaviors in crepuscular and nocturnal moths who require stereotyped zigzagging and wing beating behaviors for locating an olfactory target have axonal ramifications in the antennal lobe. This study is the first characterization of a motor to olfactory corollary discharge circuit in invertebrates and may represent the first characterization of a higher order corollary discharge circuit in an invertebrate model.