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Neuronal Control of LocomotionFrom Mollusc to Man$
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Grigori Orlovsky, T. G. Deliagina, and Sten Grillner

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524052

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524052.001.0001

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Swimming in the leech

Swimming in the leech

(p.48) 3 Swimming in the leech
Neuronal Control of Locomotion

G. N. Orlovsky

T. G. Deliagina

S. Grillner

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents opportunities for examining all components of the locomotor control system at the network and cellular levels in leech. There are two forms of locomotion in the leech – swimming and crawling – but the neuronal mechanisms of swimming are better understood. At rest, the leech has a tubular shape. At the onset of swimming the body is flattened due to a tonic contraction of dorso-ventral muscles, and during the locomotion waves of dorsal and ventral flexion start to propagate retrogradely along the body. The swimming undulations are caused by contractions of dorsal and ventral longitudinal muscles. In each of the twenty-one body segments, these muscles contract in antiphase. The Analysis of the rhythm-generator network in the leech swim CPG appeared a very difficult task because of the great number of neurons involved in rhythmogenesis. While swimming, the leech is oriented with its dorsal side up. No organs responsible for gravity sensing have been found in the leech central nervous system, however.

Keywords:   swimming, leech, crawling, ventral longitudinal muscles, rhythm-generator network, locomotor control system

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