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J Comp Physiol A. 1996 Dec;179(6):753-62.

The roles of visual and proprioceptive information during motor program choice in frogs.

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Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, University of South Dakota, School of Medicine, Vermillion 57069, USA.


Previous studies have shown that leopard frogs, Rana pipiens, use tongue prehension to capture small prey and jaw prehension to capture large prey. After hypoglossal nerve transection, the frogs fail to open their mouths when attempting to feed on small prey, but open their mouths and capture large prey. Here, we investigate how visual information about the prey and proprioceptive information from the tongue interact to influence the motor program choice. Using pieces of earthworm of various sizes, we found that Rana exhibits two different behavior patterns based on prey size. The frogs captured the 1.5-cm prey using tongue prehension, whereas 2.0-cm and larger prey were captured using jaw prehension. After hypoglossal transection, the frogs never opened their mouths when they tried to feed on 1.5-cm prey. When feeding on 3.0-cm and larger prey after transection, they always opened their mouths and captured the prey using jaw prehension. When offered 2.0-cm prey, they alternated randomly between opening and not opening the mouth. Therefore, deafferentation changed the pattern of motor program choice at the behavioral border. This implies that afferents from the tongue interact with visual input to influence motor program choice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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