Animals and humans need to move deftly and flexibly to adapt to environmental demands. Despite a large body of work on the neural control of walking in invertebrates and vertebrates alike, the mechanisms underlying the motor flexibility that is needed to adjust the motor behavior remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated optomotor-induced turning and the neuronal mechanisms underlying the differences between the leg movements of the two body sides in the stick insect Carausius morosus. We present data to show that the generation of turning kinematics in an insect are the combined result of descending unilateral commands that change the leg motor output via task-specific modifications in the processing of local sensory feedback as well as modification of the activity of local central pattern generating networks in a body-side-specific way. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate the specificity of such modifications in a defined motor task.
- Ronald L Calabrese, Emory University, United States
© 2016, Gruhn et al.
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