Scientia Marina, Vol 62, No 4 (1998)

Two functionally different muscle fibre types in some salps?

Q. Bone
Marine Biological Association, The Laboratory, United Kingdom

J. C. Braconnot
URA 2077, Observatoire Océanologique, France

C. Carre
URA 2077, Observatoire Océanologique, France


This paper describes the structure and operation of the fibres in the locomotor muscle bands of several salp species. In many species, for example Thalia democratica or Pegea confoederata, all the muscle fibres of the locomotor muscle bands are similar in width and structure. In others, for example Salpa fusiformis and S. maxima, although fibre structure is similar, the marginal fibres edging the bands may be some 3-4 times the width of those in the centre of the band. In Ihlea punctata, not only is there a more striking difference in width between the marginal and central fibres of the bands, but also the two differ in structure. The marginal fibres are up to 10 times the width of the central fibres and the two differ in myofibrillar and mitochondrial content. Intracellular recordings from the fibres show that the normally compound spike potentials do not overshoot resting potentials (up to -70 mV), and are decremental. The two types of fibre may be separately activated. It is suggested that in Ihlea punctata, the wide marginal fibres may be involved in slow swimming, the central narrow fibres in `escape´ swimming.

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Copyright (c) 1998 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

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