Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Command fibers located in the circumesophageal connectives which modify scaphognathite and heart rhythms have been mapped and characterized in the crab,Cancer magister. Behavior: Crabs show a variety of responses to external stimuli often including simultaneous cessation of cardiac and scaphognathite “pumping”. Habituation and a return to prestimulus rhythms results from continued stimulation. The response to short stimulus durations, on the other hand, generally outlasts the stimulus indicating the playing-out of a motor program. Neurophysiology: Small bundles of fibers have been isolated from desheathed connectives. Activity in these fibers resulting from stimulation of various anterior sensory receptors was recordeden passant with suction electrodes. When sensory stimulation produced both electrical activity in the nerves under examination and a cardiac and/or scaphognathite response it was assumed such units were involved in inducing this response. This was tested by electrical stimulation delivered through the same electrode. Those units which produced similar responses to natural and artificial stimulation were deemed “command fibers”. It was invariably found that the minimum stimulating frequency needed to mimic naturally induced responses was much greater than the frequency at which the units discharged in response to those stimuli. During mapping experiments, command fibers were characterized with respect to their positions in the connectives and by the responses they produced at different frequencies of stimulation. 68% of the fibers identified affected both cardiac and scaphognathite systems, 29% the scaphognathites alone and 3% the heart alone. The frequency-response profiles of single bivalent command fibers were often different from the heart and scaphognathites. These findings help explain the responses of both systems to natural stimuli and also indicate that the circulatory and respiratory systems not only perform in concert, but are often under common control.
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