An electrophysiological investigation of power-amplification in the ballistic mantis shrimp punch
Pollak, Daniel J.
Feller, Kathryn D.
Gage, Gregory J.
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Keywordelectrophysiology; behavior; convergent evolution; power amplification; motor control; muscle activity
Mantis shrimp are aggressive, burrowing crustaceans that hunt using one the fastest movements in the natural world. These stomatopods can crack the calcified shells of prey or spear down unsuspecting fish with lighting speed. Their strike makes use of power-amplification mechanisms to move their limbs much faster than is possible by muscles alone. Other arthropods such as crickets and grasshoppers also use power-amplified kicks that allow these animals to rapidly jump away from predator threats. Here we present a template laboratory exercise for studying the electrophysiology of power-amplified limb movement in arthropods, with a specific focus on mantis shrimp strikes. The exercise is designed in such a way that it can be applied to other species that perform power-amplified limb movements (e.g., house crickets, Acheta domesticus) and species that do not (e.g., cockroaches, Blaberus discoidalis). Students learn to handle the animals, make and implant electromyogram (EMG) probes, and finally perform experiments. This integrative approach introduces the concept of power-amplified neuromuscular control; allows students to develop scientific methods, and conveys high-level insights into behavior, and convergent evolution, the process by which different species evolve similar traits.
Author Posting. © Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education 17(1), (2019): T12-T19.
Suggested CitationArticle: Pollak, Daniel J., Feller, Kathryn D., Serbe, Étienne, Mircic, Stanislav, Gage, Gregory J., "An electrophysiological investigation of power-amplification in the ballistic mantis shrimp punch", https://hdl.handle.net/1912/25311
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