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A new technology has recently been
developed and tested for simultaneous
recordings of electrical activity (electromyograms,
EMGs) in multiple Manduca muscles.
To ensure ease of insertion, optimal placement, and recording stability, the geometry of the electrode array has been designed to match the muscle anatomy of Manduca. When the electrode arrays are implanted between muscles layers and connected to an extracellular amplifier, the individual electrical pulses associated with nerve stimuli can be resolved at multiple locations. The typical experimental setup is shown in the figure below.
Because larval Manduca muscles are generally innervated by a single motor neuron, the EMGs can be resolved into spikes representing the patterns of neural commands by identified neurons. The arrays are now being used to identify activity in different neurons during crawling, climbing, turning and searching behaviors. This is a significant technological advancement that will greatly accelerate our understanding of neuromechanical control of soft animal locomotion. Examples of four-channel EMG recordings taken during different behaviors are shown below.
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