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Motor planning modulates sensory-motor control of collision avoidance behavior in the bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana

Biology Open
The Company of Biologists
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1242/bio.20121693
  • Research Article


Summary In this study, we examined the collision avoidance behavior of the frog, Rana catesbeiana to an approaching object in the upper visual field. The angular velocity of the frog's escape turn showed a significant positive correlation with the turn angle (r2 = 0.5741, P<0.05). A similar mechanism of velocity control has been known in head movements of the owl and in human saccades. By analogy, this suggests that the frog planned its escape velocity in advance of executing the turn, to make the duration of the escape behavior relatively constant. For escape turns less than 60°, the positive correlation was very strong (r2 = 0.7097, P<0.05). Thus, the frog controlled the angular velocity of small escape turns very accurately and completed the behavior within a constant time. On the other hand, for escape turns greater than 60°, the same correlation was not significant (r2 = 0.065, P>0.05). Thus, the frog was not able to control the velocity of the large escape turns accurately and did not complete the behavior within a constant time. In the latter case, there was a small but significant positive correlation between the threshold angular size and the angular velocity (r2 = 0.1459, P<0.05). This suggests that the threshold is controlled to compensate for the insufficient escape velocity achieved during large turn angles, and could explain a significant negative correlation between the turn angle and the threshold angular size (r2 = 0.1145, P<0.05). Thus, it is likely that the threshold angular size is also controlled by the turn angle and is modulated by motor planning.

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