Muscle fibres of the locust extensor tibiae (jumping muscle) were examined by interference microscopy and by electron microscopy. The electrical responses of single fibres and the mechanical responses of bundles or selected regions to the nerve fibres were examined. Four axons innervate the muscle: fast (FETi), slow (SETi), common inhibitor (CI) and dorsal unpaired median (DUMETi). Their distributions were examined by combined electrophysiological tracing and EM sectioning. The mean diameter of muscle fibres in different regions varies from 40 to 140 micrometer and is related to the local leg thickness rather than muscle fibre type. The fine structure of a fibre is related to its innervation. Fibres innervated by FETi but not SETi are of fast type ultrastructurally. Fibres innervated by SETi but not by FETi are of slow type ultrastructurally. Fibres innervated by both axons are generally intermediate between the extremes though more nearly of fast type than slow. Distal slow muscle fibres have much slower relaxation rates than do proximal ones. The most proximal bundles are of mixed muscle fibre type. There is an abrupt transition from a mixed population to homogeneous fast type, in the muscle units immediately distal to the most proximal bundles. This transition is associated with the presence of DUMETi terminals on some of the fibres distal to the transition point. There are no SETi endings on these same fibres. Fibres innervated by both SETi and FETi are scattered throughout the leg, but are commonest in the dorsal bundles. The percentage of these increases progressively passing distally. The most distal muscle fibres are innervated by SETi but not by FETi. It is concluded that different regions of the muscle will play different roles functionally since they are differentially sensitive to the pattern of SETi discharge.

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