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The morphology, behavior, and biomechanics of swimming in ascidian larvae

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Ascidian larvae use a simple set of locomotor behaviors during dispersal and settlement. The swimming performance and the ability of an ascidian larva to orient within its environment depend on the biomechanics of its rudimentary locomotor morphology. The undulatory motion of the tail generates fluid forces that propel the body with a rate and direction determined by body mass and its spatial distribution. Differences in morphology and behavior among species influence these dynamics and create differences in swimming performance. Furthermore, the ability of a larva to orient within its environment depends on its ability to coordinate the motion of its body with respect to perceived sensory cues. Research on the swimming of ascidian larvae demonstrates the biomechanical basis of tactic orientation and interspecific differences in performance in a large and diverse group of animals.

Les larves d'ascidies utilizent une combinaison simple de comportements locomoteurs durant leur dispersion et leur fixation. Chez les larves ascidies, la performance de nage et la capacité de s'orienter dans le milieu dépendent de la biomécanique de leur morphologie locomotrice rudimentaire. Le mouvement ondulatoire de la queue génère des forces fluides qui propulsent le corps à un taux et dans une direction qui sont déterminés par la masse du corps et sa répartition. Les différences de morphologie et de comportement entre les espèces influencent cette dynamique et génèrent des différences de performance de nage. De plus, la capacité de la larve de s'orienter dans son environnement dépend de son aptitude à coordonner les mouvements de son corps en fonction des signaux sensoriels. La recherche sur la nage des larves d'ascidies révèle la base biomécanique de l'orientation tactile et montre les différences interspécifiques de performance chez ce groupe important et diversifié d'animaux.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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