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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Researchers Use Flight to Put Fight Back in Crickets

February 10, 2000

Humans have a fight-or-flight response when faced with stressful situations, but crickets apparently have a flight and fight response, German researchers report in today's Nature. Cricket fighting is a common form of gambling in Chinese culture, and gamblers have tried several ways of restoring aggressiveness in a defeated insect. Only forced flying is effective, however, according to a team from the University of Leipzig.

Normally, a cricket's will to fight does not return until about 24 hours after a loss. But the German entomologists found that it could be restored within minutes by tossing a cricket in the air and forcing it to fly for brief periods. Tumbling in a tube, running and being shaken in cupped hands were not nearly as effective, the researchers found. The scientists hope that the study will provide insights into how physical actions can control behavior.

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--Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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