Command Systems for Initiating Locomotion in Fish and Amphibians: Parallels to Initiation Systems in Mammals

  • Andrew D. McClellan
Part of the Wenner-Gren Center International Symposium Series book series (WGS)


The motor systems controlling behaviors can be divided into at least two compartments: the motor networks, which generate the motor activity, and the “command” system, which initiates the behavior by activating the motor networks. In both vertebrates and invertebrates, the motor activity for many innate behaviors, such as locomotion, feeding, scratching, and grooming, is centrally programmed; the underlying motor networks can generate the appropriate motor patterns in the absence of sensory feedback. “Central pattern generator” (CPG) networks for vertebrate locomotion are located and distributed in the spinal cord and produce the rhythmic locomotor pattern (Grillner, 1981).


Startle Response Central Pattern Generator Spinal Cord Stimulation Motor Network Locomotor Pattern 
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© The Wenner-Gren Center 1986

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  • Andrew D. McClellan

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