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Neural Mechanisms of Releasing (Unclasping) in American Toad

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The tendency to clasp is increased greatly, in the toad Bufo cognatus, by injections of gonadotrophin. In B. americanus, the forebrain and medial parts of the inferior colliculi are not necessary for releasing (i.e. unclasping) behavior. Small lesions at the lateral edge of the anterio-dorsal nucleus of the inferior colliculi abolish releasing. After removal of the clasp-inhibition mechanisms of the trigemino-isthmic tegmentum, toads show strong clasping (foreleg adduction) and strong releasing (hindleg kicking) movements simultaneously. This suggests that releasing is a distinct behavior pattern, rather than merely an inhibition of clasping Normal releasing can be evoked in B. americanus after complete bilateral labyrinthectomy, and the presence of a nearby, release-calling male does not evoke releasing by a clasping male. Therefore, it must be mainly the tactile effects, rather than the auditory or vestibular effects, of the release signals that evoke releasing. The effects of section of the dorsal roots of various spinal nerves in B. americanus confirm that the foreleg is the most important area for reception of the tactile stimuli evoking clasping and releasing. Gross lesions of the forefoot and sections of various nerves to the forefoot show that receptors involved in eliciting these behaviors are widely distributed in this area. The forefoot sensory field of the deep radial nerve is especially involved in clasping.

Affiliations: 1: (Institute for the Study of Mind, Drugs, and Behavior; Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine; Maywood, Illinois, U.S.A.


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