Asynchronous swimmeret beating during defense turns in the crayfish, Procambarus clarkii
Swimmeret beating was monitored in freely moving specimens of the crayfish Procambarusclarkii as they exhibited defense turn responses to tactile stimuli. Analysis of videotape records revealed alterations in swimmeret beating during turning responses compared to straight, forward walking. During turns, swimmerets beat with shorter periods and smaller amplitude power strokes than during straight walking. Coordination between swimmerets also changed. Swimmerets on the side toward which the animal turned tended to lag behind their contralateral partners, rather than beat in synchrony as in straight walking, and ipsilateral coordination was loosened relative to straight walking. Asynchronous swimmeret beating accompanied asymmetric motions of the uropods in a manner similar to that observed during statocyst-dependent equilibrium reactions in P. clarkii, but removal of the statoliths did not eliminate turn-associated responses of the swimmerets. The coordinated action of the swimmerets and uropods may contribute to the torque that rotates the animal in the yaw plane. Implications of the observed changes in swimmeret coordination for understanding the underlying neuronal control system are discussed.
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