Biogenic amines, caffeine and tonic immobility in Tribolium castaneum

Yusuke Nishi, Ken Sasaki, Takahisa Miyatake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Biogenic amines are physiologically neuroactive substances that affect behavioural and physiological traits in invertebrates. In the present study, the effects of dopamine, octopamine, tyramine and serotonin on tonic immobility, or death-feigning, were investigated in Tribolium castaneum. These amines were injected into the abdomens of beetles artificially selected for long or short duration of tonic immobility. In beetles of the long strains, the durations of tonic immobility were shortened by injection of dopamine, octopamine and tyramine, and the effects of these amines were dose-dependent. On the other hand, serotonin injection did not affect the duration of tonic immobility. In the short-strain beetles that rarely feign death, no significant effects of the amines were found on the duration of tonic immobility. Brain expression levels of octopamine, tyramine and serotonin did not differ between long- and short-strain beetles, in contrast to the higher dopamine levels in short strains previously reported. Caffeine decreased the duration of death-feigning in both oral absorption and injection experiments. It is known that caffeine activates dopamine. Therefore, the present results suggest that the duration of tonic immobility is affected by dopamine via the dopamine receptor in T. castaneum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)622-628
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


  • Caffeine
  • Death-feigning
  • Dopamine
  • Red flour beetle
  • Thanatosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Insect Science


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