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Behav Neurosci. 1989 Jun;103(3):585-604.

Reexamination of the gill withdrawal reflex of Aplysia californica Cooper (Gastropoda; Opisthobranchia).

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Department of Neurosciences, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego.


The gill withdrawal reflex (GWR), an important model system for neural mechanisms of learning, varies in form and amplitude within as well as between preparations and is therefore a heterogeneous collection of action patterns, not a reflex. At least 4 action patterns occur in response to mechanical stimulation of the siphon. It is often impossible to categorize a particular movement unambiguously. All may occur spontaneously. Gill movements may be described as combinations of 10 actions; 4 involving vein movements are described here. All actions and action patterns can occur in preparations lacking the central nervous system. Some vein movements may generate considerable force without markedly altering gill area. It is suggested that this explains why some early studies failed to identify the important role of the peripheral nervous system in the GWR. Studies based on the assumption that the GWR involves a single type of movement controlled by cells of the parietovisceral ganglion require reevaluation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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