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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Neuronal circuits generating rhythmic activation of the muscles during vertebrate swimming are assembled  in ovo . Close similarities exist between these immature motor networks in fish and amphibian tadpoles despite clear differences in locomotor behaviors. The swimming network comprises excitatory interneurons that sustain swimming and reciprocal inhibitory interneurons coupling the two sides in alternation. After hatching, the properties of spinal neurons, their synaptic connectivity, and the motor output pattern are modified to accommodate changes in locomotion. In metamorphosing anuran amphibians, the axial system is superseded by a new network controlling the limbs. At intermediate stages, circuits for both axial and limbed locomotion coexist. The limb circuit initially expresses a rhythm coupled to the tail beat, before adopting its own independent cadence.

Keywords: in ovo, fish, amphibian tadpoles, locomotor behaviors, excitatory interneurons, anuran amphibians, axial system

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