White muscle strain in the common carp and red to white muscle gearing ratios in fish

J M Wakeling, I A Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


White muscle strains were recorded using sonomicrometry techniques for 70 fast-starts in the common carp Cyprinus carpio L. High-speed cine images were recorded simultaneously for 54 of these starts, and muscle strain was calculated independently from the digitized outlines of the fish. Sonomicrometry measurements of superficial muscle strain were not significantly different from the strain as calculated from the theory of simple bending of a homogeneous material: superficial muscle strain thus varied with chordwise distance from the spine. However, white muscle strain across a transverse section of the myotome shows less variation with chordwise position than would be expected from simple bending theory. Muscle strains measured using sonomicrometry thus do not necessarily represent the more uniform strain predicted for the whole section of the fish. White muscle strain can be accurately predicted from the spine curvatures as measured from the cine images if the gearing ratio between the red and white muscle fibres is known. A model for calculating the gearing ratio from the helical muscle fibre geometry was reevaluated using current data for the kinematics of fast-starting C. carpio. This model predicted a mean gearing ratio of 2.8 for these fast-starts, A quicker, alternative approach to estimating gearing ratio from the position of the centroid of white fibre area is proposed and results in ratios similar to those calculated from the model of helical geometry. White muscle strains in fish can thus be estimated from measurements of spine curvature and muscle distribution alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-528
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1999


  • muscle strain
  • gearing ratio
  • sonomicrometry
  • fast-start
  • common carp
  • Cyprinus carpio
  • BODY


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