Sensory responses of various descending brain neurons, their modulation during standing or walking, and the correlation of such modulations with stimulus category were investigated. Stimuli involving (1) static or moving grating, artificial calling songs with (2) the conspecific and (3) an ultrasound frequency, or (4) air puffs to the cerci were presented to crickets walking in an open loop paradigm. The morphology of different descending interneurons in the brain and thoracic ganglia is described, together with their respective response properties. Some cells were excited, others inhibited by, and only some were directionally sensitive to the optomotor stimulus. Responses to artificial calling songs with conspecific and ultrasound frequency differed in the way the syllables of the sounds were coded and in the representation of ipsi- and contralateral stimuli. The majority of cells tested responded to air puffs. Stimulus representation differed among individuals of morphological types, but was very similar among individual interneurons of the morphologically homogenous i5 group. Stimuli approximating predators (air puffs, ultrasound) were usually represented during walking and standing; however, most neurons only responded to the other stimuli only during walking. These results indicate that the same neurons show different responses, and may have different functions, under different behavioral conditions
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