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Fiber-type distribution in insect leg muscles parallels similarities and differences in the functional role of insect walking legs A Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology

Godlewska-Hammel, Elzbieta, Büschges, Ansgar, Gruhn, Matthias
Journal of comparative physiology 2017 v.203 no.10 pp. 773-790
Carausius morosus, Orthoptera, adenosinetriphosphatase, antagonists, enzyme activity, insects, legs, muscle fibers, muscles, tibia, walking
Previous studies have demonstrated that myofibrillar ATPase (mATPase) enzyme activity in muscle fibers determines their contraction properties. We analyzed mATPase activities in muscles of the front, middle and hind legs of the orthopteran stick insect (Carausius morosus) to test the hypothesis that differences in muscle fiber types and distributions reflected differences in their behavioral functions. Our data show that all muscles are composed of at least three fiber types, fast, intermediate and slow, and demonstrate that: (1) in the femoral muscles (extensor and flexor tibiae) of all legs, the number of fast fibers decreases from proximal to distal, with a concomitant increase in the number of slow fibers. (2) The swing phase muscles protractor coxae and levator trochanteris, have smaller percentages of slow fibers compared to the antagonist stance muscles retractor coxae and depressor trochanteris. (3) The percentage of slow fibers in the retractor coxae and depressor trochanteris increases significantly from front to hind legs. These results suggest that fiber-type distribution in leg muscles of insects is not identical across leg muscles but tuned towards the specific function of a given muscle in the locomotor system.