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Yoshifumi Yamawaki Last modified date:2020.06.17

Lecturer / Dynamic biology
Department of Biology
Faculty of Sciences

Graduate School
Undergraduate School

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Explanation of the study .
Academic Degree
Doctor of Science
Country of degree conferring institution (Overseas)
Field of Specialization
Animal Physiology
ORCID(Open Researcher and Contributor ID)
Total Priod of education and research career in the foreign country
Outline Activities
I am trying to clarify the neural mechanism underlying decision making and motor control in insects with electrophysiological, neuroanatomical, and behavioral techniques.
Research Interests
  • The neural mechanism of motor control in predatory behaviour of the mantis
    keyword : motor control, reaching, predatory behaviour
  • The neural mechanism underlying the decision making in lizards
    keyword : decision making, predatory behaviour, escape, lizards
  • The neural mechanism underlying the defense behaviour of the mantis in response to looming stimuli
    keyword : looming detection, defense behavioru, mantis, insect, vision
  • The neural mechanism underlying escape behaviour in the locust
    keyword : vision, collision detection, escape behaviour, insect
  • The neural mechanism underlying prey recognition in the praying mantis
    keyword : prey recognition, mantis, insect, visual information processing
Academic Activities
1. Kentaro Fujiki, Mihoko Nagase, Keigo Takaki, Hidehiro Watanabe, Yoshifumi Yamawaki, Three-dimensional atlas of thoracic ganglia in the praying mantis, Tenodera aridifolia, Journal of Comparative Neurology, 10.1002/cne.24841, 528, 9, 1599-1615, 2020.06, The praying mantis is a good model for the study of motor control, especially for investigating the transformation from sensory signals into motor commands. In insects, thoracic ganglia (TG) play an important role in motor control. To understand the functional organization of TG, an atlas is useful. However, except for the fruitfly, no three-dimensional atlas of TG has not been reported for insects. In this study, we generated a three-dimensional atlas of prothoracic, mesothoracic, and metathoracic ganglia in the praying mantis (Tenodera aridifolia). First, we observed serial sections of the prothoracic ganglion stained with hematoxylin and eosin to identify longitudinal tracts and transverse commissures. We then visualized neuropil areas by immunostaining whole-mount TG with an anti-synapsin antibody. Before labeling each neuropil area, standardization using the iterative shape averaging method was applied to images to make neuropil contours distinct. Neuropil areas in TG were defined based on their shape and relative position to tracts and commissures. Finally, a three-dimensional atlas was reconstructed from standardized images of the TG. The standard TG are available at the Comparative Neuroscience Platform website ( and can be used as a common reference map to combine the anatomical data obtained from different individuals..
2. Yoshifumi Yamawaki, Unraveling the functional organization of lobula complex in the mantis brain by identification of visual interneurons, Journal of Comparative Neurology, 10.1002/cne.24603, 527, 7, 1161-1178, 2019.05, The praying mantis shows broad repertories of visually guided behaviors such as prey recognition and defense against collision. It is likely that neurons in the lobula complex (LOX), the third visual neuropil in the optic lobe, play significant roles in these behaviors. The LOX in the mantis brain consists of five neuropils: outer lobes 1 and 2 (OLO1 and OLO2); anterior lobe (ALO); dorsal lobe (DLO); and stalk lobe (SLO), and ALO comprise ventral and dorsal subunits, ALO-V and ALO-D. To understand the functional organization of LOX, intracellular electrodes were used for recording from and staining neurons in these neuropils of the mantis (Tenodera aridifolia). The neurons belonged to three categories based on their response properties and morphologies. First, tangential ALO-V neurons projecting to ventromedial neuropils (VMNP) (TAproM1 and 2), tangential DLO (or ALO-D) neurons projecting to VMNP (TDproM1 and 2), and tangential ALO-V centrifugal neurons (TAcen) all showed directional sensitivity and sustained excitation to gratings drifting in preferred direction (outward–downward, inward–upward, outward–upward, inward–downward, and inward, respectively). Second, tangential OLO neurons projecting to VMNP or ventrolateral neuropils (VLNP) (TOproM or TOproL), columnar OLO commissural neurons (COcom), and SLO commissural neurons (Scom) all showed strong excitation to 2°–8° moving squares but little excitations to drifting gratings. COcom and SLO neurons ramified in both left and right LOX. Last, the class of tangential ALO-V neurons projecting to VLNP (TAproL1, 2, and 3) responded best to looming circles and showed little excitation to receding, darkening, and lightening circles..
3. Yoshifumi Yamawaki, Decision-making and motor control in predatory insects: a review of the praying mantis, Ecological Entomology, 10.1111/een.12452, 42, 39-50, 2017.08, 1. Predatory and defensive behaviours require multiple stages of decision-making in predatory insects, such as the praying mantis. 2. During predation, a praying mantis must decide where to ambush prey and which prey to fixate on, catch, and eat. The mantis also needs to decide how to track, approach, and catch prey, all the while controlling these actions depending on the visual features and position of the prey. For defence, a mantis must decide when to be defensive and which defensive response to initiate. 3. This review summarises the current knowledge of decision-making processes and the corresponding motor control in the mantis, remarking on the importance of considering the interaction between predatory and defensive systems. Current research suggests that the mantis is a good model for revealing the mechanisms behind an animal's selection of a certain behaviour from a broad repertoire..
4. Santer, RD, Yamawaki, Y, Rind, FC and Simmons, PJ, Motor activity and trajectory control during escape jumping in the locust Locusta migratoria., J. Comparative Physiology A, 10.1007/s00359-005-0023-3, 191, 10, 965-975, 191: 965-975, 2005.01.
1. Yoshifumi Yamawaki, Temporal control of foreleg movements in predatory strike of the mantis, 日本比較生理生化学会第40回大会, 2018.11.
2. Yoshifumi Yamawaki, Decision-making and motor control in the praying mantis: To attack or not to attack, Ento’17 - International Symposium & National Science Meeting, 2017.09.
Membership in Academic Society
  • International Society for Neuroethology
  • The neural mechanism underlying visual information processing in the praying mantis