Document Detail

Neuromechanical response of musculo-skeletal structures in cockroaches during rapid running on rough terrain.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18203999     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
A musculo-skeletal structure can stabilize rapid locomotion using neural and/or mechanical feedback. Neural feedback results in an altered feedforward activation pattern, whereas mechanical feedback using visco-elastic structures does not require a change in the neural motor code. We selected musculo-skeletal structures in the cockroach (Blaberus discoidalis) because their single motor neuron innervation allows the simplest possible characterization of activation. We ran cockroaches over a track with randomized blocks of heights up to three times the animal's ;hip' (1.5 cm), while recording muscle action potentials (MAPs) from a set of putative control musculo-skeletal structures (femoral extensors 178 and 179). Animals experienced significant perturbations in body pitch, roll and yaw, but reduced speed by less than 20%. Surprisingly, we discovered no significant difference in the distribution of the number of MAPs, the interspike interval, burst phase or interburst period between flat and rough terrain trials. During a few very large perturbations or when a single leg failed to make contact throughout stance, neural feedback was detectable as a phase shift of the central rhythm and alteration of MAP number. System level responses of appendages were consistent with a dominant role of mechanical feedback. Duty factors and gait phases did not change for cockroaches running on flat versus rough terrain. Cockroaches did not use a follow-the-leader gait requiring compensatory corrections on a step-by-step basis. Arthropods appear to simplify control on rough terrain by rapid running that uses kinetic energy to bridge gaps between footholds and distributed mechanical feedback to stabilize the body.
S Sponberg; R J Full
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  211     ISSN:  0022-0949     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2008 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-01-21     Completed Date:  2008-05-01     Revised Date:  2008-11-21    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  433-46     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Action Potentials / physiology
Cockroaches / physiology*
Gait / physiology
Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
Running / physiology*

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