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The role of long-range coupling in crayfish swimmeret phase-locking. (English) Zbl 1400.92051
Summary: During forward swimming, crayfish and other long-tailed crustaceans rhythmically move four pairs of limbs called swimmerets to propel themselves through the water. This behavior is characterized by a particular stroke pattern in which the most posterior limb pair leads the rhythmic cycle and adjacent swimmerets paddle sequentially with a delay of roughly 25% of the period. The neural circuit underlying limb coordination consists of a chain of local modules, each of which controls a pair of limbs. All modules are directly coupled to one another, but the inter-module coupling strengths decrease with the distance of the connection. Prior modeling studies of the swimmeret neural circuit have included only the dominant nearest-neighbor coupling. Here, we investigate the potential modulatory role of long-range connections between modules. Numerical simulations and analytical arguments show that these connections cause decreases in the phase-differences between neighboring modules. Combined with previous results from a computational fluid dynamics model, we posit that this phenomenon might ensure that the resultant limb coordination lies within a range where propulsion is optimal. To further assess the effects of long-range coupling, we modify the model to reflect an experimental preparation where synaptic transmission from a middle module is blocked, and we generate predictions for the phase-locking properties in this system.

92C10 Biomechanics
92C20 Neural biology
92B25 Biological rhythms and synchronization
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