The asynchronous muscles of insects are characterized by asynchrony between muscle electrical and mechanical activity, a fibrillar organization with poorly developed sarcoplasmic reticulum, a slow time course of isometric contraction, low isometric force, high passive stiffness and delayed stretch activation and shortening deactivation. These properties are illustrated by comparing an asynchronous muscle, the basalar flight muscle of the beetle Cotinus mutabilis, with synchronous wing muscles from the locust, Schistocerca americana. Because of delayed stretch activation and shortening deactivation, a tetanically stimulated beetle muscle can do work when subjected to repetitive lengthening and shortening. The synchronous locust muscle, subjected to similar stimulation and length change, absorbs rather than produces work.

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