Motor activity during searching and walking movements of cockroach legs.

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1. Rhythmic motor activity may be recorded in the legs of cockroaches during the execution of several different types of behaviour that involve leg movements. It was examined in detail during searching and walking. 2. During walking, motor activity always consisted of a series of bursts separated by silent periods. During searching, it was usually continual, but modulated in frequency. 3. Sometimes, the motor pattern recorded from a searching leg was burst-like rather than modulated. In these cases, it could nevertheless be reliably distinguished from the motor pattern recorded during walking by a simple analysis of the burst pattern. 4. An analysis of the motor pattern recorded during righting indicated that this pattern was more like that for walking than that for searching. Therefore, searching is not simply walking that lacks certain periodic sensory input due to leg contact with the ground. 5. It is concluded that walking and searching can be reliably distinguished from one another on the basis of an analysis of a record of motor activity in a single leg muscle only. An ability to distinguish between similar types of behaviour on the basis of the motor pattern may prove useful in a variety of experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of experimental biology
StatePublished - Nov 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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