Jun 26, 1999

Neuromuscular control of prey capture in frogs

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
K C Nishikawa


While retaining a feeding apparatus that is surprisingly conservative morphologically, frogs as a group exhibit great variability in the biomechanics of tongue protraction during prey capture, which in turn is related to differences in neuromuscular control. In this paper, I address the following three questions. (1) How do frog tongues differ biomechanically? (2) What anatomical and physiological differences are responsible? (3) How is biomechanics related to mechanisms of neuromuscular control? Frog species use three non-exclusive mechanisms to protract their tongues during feeding: (i) mechanical pulling, in which the tongue shortens as its muscles contract during protraction; (ii) inertial elongation, in which the tongue lengthens under inertial and muscular loading; and (iii) hydrostatic elongation, in which the tongue lengthens under constraints imposed by the constant volume of a muscular hydrostat. Major differences among these functional types include (i) the amount and orientation of collagen fibres associated with the tongue muscles and the mechanical properties that this connective tissue confers to the tongue as a whole; and (ii) the transfer of intertia from the opening jaws to the tongue, which probably involves ...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Hypoglossal Nerve Structure
Muscle of Tongue
Motor Neurons
Feedback - System Communication

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