A simultaneous coupling azo dye technique has been used to reveal the distribution of cholinesterase activity in the musculature of the developing tadpole of Xenopus laevis. The use of inhibitors and a less convenient but more specific histochernical technique confirmed that only true cholinesterase distribution was being demonstrated; and a study of silver-impregnated material proved that this azo dye technique provides a very convenient method of following the development of the patterns of myo-neural junctions in the striated muscles of this tadpole. A wide variety of patterns is seen in the various muscles: in the axial musculature the muscle-fibres become innervated at their ends from myocommatal plexuses and never acquire endings along their length; broad muscular sheets, as in the walls of the branchial and abdominal cavities, are also first innervated terminally from the septa but later acquire secondary innervation is along the lengths of the fibres. These different patterns of innervation are correlated with the functions of the various types of muscle. It is suggested that terminal innervation may be a special adaptation to permit rapid establishment of neurogenic activity, the pattern of endings of the more usual type forming when the need for precisely co-ordinated reflexogenic activity arises. In some muscles, the azo dye technique reveals a profuse multiple innervation of the fibres which are assumed to be of the so-called ‘slow type’ known to exist in some amphibian muscles.

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