1. A brief account is given of the present position of the problem of neuromuscular action in the Crustacea.
2. A method is described by which the leg of Carcinus maenas may be perfused and stimulated. By this method the muscle remains in good condition for some 8 hours.
3. By stimulating the nerve in Carcinus leg with alternating currents of increasing intensity a series of varied responses is obtained. Above the threshold a contraction is developed of a comparatively slow type. With increase of intensity of the stimulus the response fails, owing to the excitation of inhibitory nerves. But at still greater intensities contraction reappears. This contraction, however, is very rapid. Tetani developed from the slow contraction are easily inhibited. Tetani developed from the rapid contraction cannot be inhibited by superimposed stimuli.
4. The relation of the quick and slow contractions is considered. It is not possible to fatigue one without fatiguing the other. Experiments show that on suddenly releasing the tension of the muscle during a tetanus, the tension always redevelops in a manner similar to the development of tension in the quick contraction, even though the tetanus be developed initially by the slow contraction. The same contractile mechanism is involved in both cases.
5. The latent period of contraction on stimulation of the nerve is very long, and ranges from 300σ at the threshold. That for direct stimulation of the muscle is 7-1Oσ. Above the threshold the latent period shortens rapidly with increasing stimulus. Over this region the contractions are of the slow type. The latent period becomes asymptotic to 50σ as the intensity is increased. At this value the contractions are of the quick type. Inhibition is effective where the latent period begins to approach its asymptotic value.
6. It is suggested that all the varied phenomena observed are related to the power of summation of crustacean muscle; that the slow contraction in response to a battery of stimuli is not due to a different contractile mechanism from the quick one, but that it is a summation effect by which a statistically increasing number of muscle fibres are brought into action as successive impulses pass down the nerve.