A Caltech Library Service

Local Control of Leg Movements and Motor Patterns during Grooming in Locusts

Berkowitz, Ari and Laurent, Gilles (1996) Local Control of Leg Movements and Motor Patterns during Grooming in Locusts. Journal of Neuroscience, 16 (24). pp. 8067-8078. ISSN 0270-6474. PMCID PMC6579221. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.16-24-08067.1996.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


This study demonstrates that the thoracic and abdominal nervous system of locusts is sufficient to mediate several site-specific and distinct grooming leg movements. Locusts can use a hindleg or middle leg to groom at least four ipsilateral thoracic and abdominal sites, without input from the brain, subesophageal ganglion, or prothoracic ganglion. The hindleg is used to groom the posterior abdomen, the ventral or posterior hindleg coxa, and the ear; the middle leg is used to groom the anterior hindleg coxa. Grooming movements are often rhythmic and display site-specific intralimb coordination patterns. During grooming of the posterior abdomen or ventral hindleg coxa, for example, hindleg tibial extension occurs nearly simultaneously with femur elevation, in contrast with locust hindleg movements during walking. Electromyographic (EMG) recordings during these movements show that rhythmic bursts of tibial extensor activity occur nearly in-phase with those of trochanteral levators, in contrast to hindleg EMGs during walking. During grooming of the ear, hindleg tibial extension/flexion and tibial extensor/flexor muscle bursts can occur independently of the femur elevation/depression and trochanteral levator/depressor muscle bursts, suggesting that the neural modules controlling tibial and femoral movements can be uncoupled during this behavior. Tibial extension can occur before, or even in the absence of, tibial extensor muscle activity, suggesting that spring-like properties of the leg and energy transfer from femur motion may play important roles in such leg movements. Adjacent legs sometime show coordinated femur movement during grooming with one hindleg, suggesting that grooming may also involve interlimb coordination.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Laurent, Gilles0000-0002-2296-114X
Additional Information:© 1996 Society for Neuroscience. Received May 15, 1996; revised Aug. 27, 1996; accepted Sept. 20, 1996. This research was supported by a National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship to A.B. and a National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellowship to G.L. We thank two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NIH Postdoctoral FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:scratching; motor control; insect; thoracic; ganglia; central pattern generation; locomotion
Issue or Number:24
PubMed Central ID:PMC6579221
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191030-152810705
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Local Control of Leg Movements and Motor Patterns during Grooming in Locusts. Ari Berkowitz, Gilles Laurent. Journal of Neuroscience 15 December 1996, 16 (24) 8067-8078; DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.16-24-08067.1996
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:99568
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:31 Oct 2019 01:43
Last Modified:17 Feb 2022 00:21

Repository Staff Only: item control page