The timing of the direct depressor motor neurones and its variability is analyzed during straight flight ofLocusta migratoria in a wind tunnel. The time of occurrence of a given motor spike varies in the range of several milliseconds (Fig. 2). This is considerably large, since changes of the timing during steering reactions are of the same order of magnitude.
The firing sequence of the direct motor neurones during each downstroke shows an asymmetry by which a ‘leading’ side can be defined. However, not all motor neurones on the leading side fire earlier than their contralateral homologues (Figs. 2, 3).
It is discussed that the great variability and the asymmetry in the timing of the motor neurones is due to the special conditiones of tethered flight, namely the fact that the exteroception is functionally disabled. As a consequence of this, it is postulated that in the free flying animal the motor neurones are much more precisely timed than during flights in the wind tunnel.
The changes in the timing of different motor neurones do not occur independently from one another. There are correlations between them, which can be summarized in a complex correlation pattern (Figs. 8 to 10). The analysis was restricted to correlations which occurred only in variations from one wing beat to the next (Fig. 7).
The correlations between the firing time of different motor neurones are possibly due to a mechanism, which ensures that such combinations of motor change are preferred which are in favour of flight stability. In the light of the results presented in Part II and III of this contribution, the proprioception is at least one factor responsible for the correlations.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
- MVR :
mean value reference
- CPG :
central pattern generator
Baker PS (1979) The role of forewing muscles in the control of direction in flying locusts. J Comp Physiol 131:59–66
Holst E von (1935a) Erregungsbildung und Erregungsleitung im Fischrückenmarie. Pflügers Arch 235:345–359
Holst E von (1935b) Über den Prozeß der zentralnervösen Koordination. Pflügers Arch 236:149–158
Holst E von (1936) Vom Dualismus der motorischen und der automatisch-rhythmischen Funktion im Rückenmark und vom Wesen des automatischen Rhythmus. Pflügers Arch 237:356–378
Kutsch W, Usherwood PNR (1970) Studies of the innervation and electrical activity of flight muscles in the locust,Schistoerca gregaria. J Exp Biol 52:299–312
Möhl B (1985a) The role of proprioception in locust flight control. II. Information signalled by forewing stretch receptors during flight. J Comp Physiol A 156:103–116
Möhl B (1985b) The role of proprioception in locust flight control. III. The influence of afferent stimulation of the stretch receptor nerve. J Comp Physiol A (in press)
Möhl B, Zarnack W (1977a) Activity of the direct downstroke flight muscles ofLocusta migratoria (L.) during steering behaviour in flight. II. Dynamics of time shift and changes in burst length. J Comp Physiol 118:235–247
Möhl B, Zarnack W (1977b) Flight steering by means of time shifts in the activity of the direct downstroke muscles in the locust. Fortschr Zool 24:333–339
Sachs L (1978) Angewandte Statistik. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York
Selverston AI (1980) Are central pattern generators understandable? Behav Brain Sci 3:535–571
Snodgrass RE (1929) The thoracic mechanism of a grasshopper and its antecedents. Smithson Mise Collect 82:1–111
Taylor CP (1981) Contribution of compound eyes and ocelli to steering of locusts in flight. II. Timing changes in flight motor units, J Exp Biol 93:19–31
Waldron I (1967) Neural mechanism by which controlling inputs influence motor output in the flying locust. J Exp Biol 47:213–228
Wendler G (1972) Einfluß erzwungener Flügelbewegungen auf das motorische Flugmuster von Heuschrecken. Naturwissenschaften 59:220
Wendler G (1974) The influence of proprioceptive feedback on locust flight co-ordination. J Comp Physiol 88:173–200
Wilson DM (1961) The central nervous control of flight in a locust. J Exp Biol 38:471–490
Wilson DM (1968) Inherent asymmetry and reflex modulation of the locust flight motor pattern. J Exp Biol 48:631–641
Zarnack W (1982) Kinematische, aerodynamische und neurophysiologisch-funktions-morphologische Untersuchungen des Heuschreckenfluges. Habilitationsschrift, Göttingen
Zarnack W, Möhl B (1977a) Activity of the direct downstroke flight muscles ofLocusta migratoria (L.) during steering behaviour in flight I. Patterns of time shift. J Comp Physiol 118:235–247
Zarnack W, Möhl B (1977b) A data acquisition processor with data reduction for electrophysiological experiments. Fortschr Zool 24:321–326
About this article
Cite this article
Möhl, B. The role of proprioception in locust flight control. J. Comp. Physiol. 156, 93–101 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00610670
- Wind Tunnel
- Flight Control
- Motor Neurone
- Firing Time
- Special Conditiones