The locust jump. II. Neural circuits of the motor programme.

W. J. Heitler*, M. Burrows

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


1. Neural circuits which co-ordinate the motorneurones of the meta-thoracic tibiae of the locust in jumping and kicking have been investigated. 2. The fast extensor motorneurone is reflexly excited by the subgenual organ, by a network of cuticle strain receptors, and by Brunner's organ. The subgenual organ and the cuticle strain receptors are excited by tension in the extensor muscle and mediate a positive feedback which could help to produce the burst of fast extensor spikes which precedes a jump or kick. Brunner's organ is stimulated by pressure from the flexed tibia, and will be excited by the initial flexion and throughout the co-contraction phase of a kick. 3. A central excitatory connexion from the fast extensor to the slow extensor ensures that extensor muscle tension is as great as possible early in the co-contraction phase of a kick. 4. A central excitatory connexion from the fast extensor to flexor motorneurones is confirmed. This ensures that flexor muscle tension is great enough to keep the tibia flexed when the extensor muscle tension starts to develop before a jump or kick. 5. Reflex excitation of flexor motorneurones occurs in response to an extensor muscle twitch when the tibia is flexed. This helps to maintain the flexor connexion. 6. A receptor, the 'lump receptor', which is stimulated by flexor muscle tension only when the tibia is flexed, can inhibit the flexor motorneurones and may activate the trigger system which allows the extension of the tibia in a jump or kick. 7. Recptors in the suspensory ligaments of the joint inhibit the fast extensor when the tibia extends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-241
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1977


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