A Caltech Library Service

Non-Sinusoidal Bending Waves of Sperm Flagella

Brokaw, C. J. (1965) Non-Sinusoidal Bending Waves of Sperm Flagella. Journal of Experimental Biology, 43 (1). pp. 155-169. ISSN 0022-0949.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The analyses of flagellar movement stimulated by Sir James Gray's (1955) photographic study of the movement of sea-urchin spermatozoa have used sine waves as a convenient mathematical model for the active bending waves of flagella. Machin (1958), following a suggestion of Pringle (1957), outlined an attractively simple model for the mechanical co-ordination of bending elements distributed along a flagellum to give propagated sine waves. However, in a later paper, Machin (1963) showed that these bending elements must behave non-linearly, in which case the bending waves will probably not be sinusoidal. Brokaw & Wright (1963) presented photographs showing that in at least one case-the large posterior flagellum of the dinoflagellate Ceratium-the bending waves are not sine waves, but instead contain regions of constant bending, forming circular arcs, separated by shorter unbent regions. In this paper photographs of flagellar bending waves of spermatozoa from marine invertebrate representatives of three animal phyla will be presented and discussed with reference to the description of bending waves proposed by Brokaw and Wright. Differences have been observed between the spermatozoa of these three species in respect of their movements under certain experimental conditions, but the common features of their movements will be emphasized in this paper.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 1965 The Company of Biologists Ltd. Received December 12, 1964. This work has been supported in part by a grant from the United States Public Health Service (RG-6965).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
U.S. Public Health ServiceRG-6965
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120828-072644098
Persistent URL:
Official Citation: C. J. BROKAW Non-Sinusoidal Bending Waves of Sperm Flagella J Exp Biol 1965 43:155-169.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:33588
Deposited On:28 Aug 2012 14:51
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 04:11

Repository Staff Only: item control page