Neural control of swimming in hatchling Xenopus frog tadpoles

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


The spinal circuit controlling swimming locomotion in hatchling Xenopus frog tadpoles was one of the first vertebrate CPGs to be investigated in detail. Today it is one of the most completely understood CPGs in the animal kingdom. Research over the last four decades has led to a detailed understanding of the motor and interneurons that comprise the CPG, their detailed electrical properties, and synaptic connectivity. This review summarizes all aspects of the swimming system from its initiation and termination by specific sensory pathways to the switching of motor programs from swimming to struggling. We also review the intrinsic mechanisms that confer short-term motor memory via dynamic sodium pumps. After hatching there is an initial and rapid development of the swimming output in the prelude to continuous free-swimming and metamorphosis (see Chapter 8) that relies partly on the incorporation of various modulatory systems that descend from the brainstem, including aminergic and nitrergic influences.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Neural Control of Movement
Subtitle of host publicationModel Systems and Tools to Study Locomotor Function
EditorsPatrick J. Whelan, Simon A. Sharples
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780128164778
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Aug 2020


  • CPG
  • Locomotion
  • Motor memory
  • Neuromodulation
  • Sensorimotor integration
  • Sodium pump
  • Spinal cord
  • Struggling
  • Tadpole
  • Xenopus


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