Higher motor centers and central pattern generators (CPGs) interact in the control of coordinated leg movements during locomotion throughout the animal kingdom. The subesophageal ganglion (SEG) is one of the insect head ganglia reported to have a role in the control of walking behavior. Here we explored the functional relations between the SEG and the thoracic leg CPGs in the desert locust. Backfill staining revealed about 300 SEG descending interneurons (DINs) altogether. Recordings from an in-vitro isolated chain of thoracic ganglia, with intact or severed connections to the SEG, during pharmacological activation were used to determine how the SEG affects the centrally generated motor output to the legs. The SEG was demonstrated to both activate leg CPGs and synchronize their bilateral activity. The role of the SEG in insect locomotion is discussed in light of these findings.
- Central pattern generator (CPG)
- Intersegmental coordination
- Subesophageal ganglion (SEG)