Control of Crayfish Escape Behavior
Professor Cornelis Wiersma, whom we honor in this volume, introduced the giant fiber system of the crayfish (Johnson, 1924) into modern neurophysiology in an important series of papers published from 1936 to 1952 (Wiersma, 1938, 1947a, b, 1949, 1952b; Wiersma and Schalleck, 1947, 1948; Wiersma and Turner, 1950). Wiersma showed that the giant fibers are “command neurons” for escape, which, by a single firing, produce a fast flexion and extension of the abdomen and a variety of ancillary motor reactions involving hundreds of motor neurons (MNs) distributed along the length of the neuroaxis. A host of later workers who have built on the findings of Wiersma and his collaborators have brought crayfish escape behavior to a point where there is perhaps no equally complex behavior in the repertoire of any animal that is so well understood in neuronal terms.
KeywordsNerve Cord Escape Behavior Giant Axon Command Neuron Abdominal Ganglion
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