Behavioral observation of xenopus tadpole swimming for neuroscience labs

Wenchang Li, Monica Anne Wagner, Nicola Jean Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Neuroscience labs benefit from reliable, easily - monitored neural responses mediated by well - studied neural pathways . Xenopus laevis tadpoles have been used as a simple vertebrate model preparation in motor control studies. Most of the neuronal pathways underlying different aspects of tadpole swimming behavior have been revealed. These include the skin mechanosensory touch and pineal eye light - sensing pathways whose activation can initiate swimming , and the cement gland pressure - sensing pathway responsible for stopping swimming. A simple transection in the hindbrain can cut off the pineal eye and cement gland pathways from the swimming circuit in the spinal cord, resulting in losses of corresponding functions. Additionally, some pharmacological experiments targeting neurotransmission can be designed to affect swimming and, fluorescence - conjugated α -bungarotoxin can be used to label nicotinic receptors at neuromuscular junctions. These experiments can be readily adapted for undergraduate neuroscience teaching labs. Possible expansions of some experiments for more sophisticated pharmacological or neurophysiological labs are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A107-A113
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education
Issue number2
Early online date15 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Xenopus
  • Tadpole
  • Swimming
  • Neuromuscular junction behaviour
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology


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