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ABSTRACT We have used a multidisciplinary approach, using methods ranging from neurophysiology to field observations of natural behavior, to study the rapid backward escape-swimming of the Norway lobster Nephrops norvegicus. Escape-swimming involves a series of rapid power and recovery strokes of the abdomen, termed tail-flips. The initial tail-flip is mediated by giant fibers, and leads to a number of subsequent nongiant flips. The trajectory of the tail-flip depends on the particular giant fibers recruited, and also on the laterality of the stimulus, which influences steering and righting. The duration of swimming appears to be influenced by both neuronal and metabolic factors. By extending these laboratory studies to field trails, we have confirmed that the swimming performance of Nephrops is similar under natural conditions, and also in interactions between these animals and the trawl nets used to capture them.

Affiliations: 1: (PLN) Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, England; 2: (DMN) Department of Zoology, The University, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, United Kingdom; 3: (CJC) Scottish Office Agriculture and Fisheries Department, The Marine Laboratory, P.O. Box 101, Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB9 8DB, Scotland, United Kingdom.


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