Previous investigations on the flight system of the locust have found that removal of the wing tegulae in mature locusts (Locusta migratoria) results in an immediate change in the flight motor pattern: the wingbeat frequency (WBF) decreases, the interval between the activity of the depressor and the elevator muscles (the D-E interval) increases, and the phase of the elevator activity in the depressor cycle increases. Here we report the results of a detailed quantitative analysis of these changes. We also examined the flight motor pattern for up to 14 days after removal of the tegulae and found that the changes caused by this operation were not permanent. Beginning on the first day after the operation there was a time-dependent recovery of the WBF, the D-E interval and the phase towards their normal values. In about 80% of the experimental animals the flight motor pattern recovered almost completely. Intracellular recordings from elevator motoneurones showed that this recovery was associated with changes in the pattern of excitatory input to these motoneurones. The modification of activity in elevator motoneurones was dependent on afferent input since complete deafferentation of recovered animals resulted in a motor pattern similar to that following deafferentation of normal animals.

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