May 15, 2004

Activation patterns of the tongue-projector muscle during feeding in the imperial cave salamander Hydromantes imperialis

The Journal of Experimental Biology
Stephen M Deban, Ursula Dicke


Salamanders of the genus Hydromantes project their tongues the greatest distance of any amphibian to capture prey, up to 80% of body length or approximately 6 cm in an adult individual. During tongue projection on distant prey, the tongue is shot ballistically and the tongue skeleton leaves the body of the salamander entirely. We investigated an aspect of the motor control of this remarkable behavior by examining electromyographic patterns within different regions of the tongue-projector muscle, the subarcualis rectus (SAR). SAR activation is strongly modulated, and features of this modulation can be predicted by tongue-projection distance (i.e. prey distance). The strap-like buccal portion of the SAR is always activated first and for the longest duration, compared to any other region. It is in a position to transmit force generated by the posterior SAR to the floor of the mouth, where it originates. The posterior SAR encompasses and applies force to the epibranchial of the tongue skeleton, and its activation pattern gradually changes from a posterior-to-anterior wave of activation onset during short-distance projection to an all-at-once pattern during the most extreme long-distance (ballistic) projection. The duration of activ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Surface Electromyography
Buccal Surface
Hydromantes <genus>
Skeletal System
Soleus Muscle Structure
Tongue Diseases
Hydromantes <subgenus>
Sublingual Region
Benign Neoplasm of Tongue

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