Non-undulatory locomotion in the lamprey

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The lamprey (a lower vertebrate, cyclostome), in addition to ordinary swimming, is also capable of crawling. Here we describe crawling forward in a narrow U-shaped tunnel. A rapid movement along the tunnel was evoked by stimulating the tail. The muscle activity responsible for propulsion was confined to the area around the body bend. Muscles on the inner (concave) side were activated when approaching the turn, and inactivated on the top of the arc. Muscles on the outer (convex) side were co-active with their antagonists, but also active in the area of straightening of the body bend. This pattern of muscle activity propagated along the body. The role of central and reflex mechanisms in the generation of locomotor movements is discussed.

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