Electromyography of the fin musculature of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis.

WM Kier, KK Smith, JA Miyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The musculature of the fins of the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis (Mollusca, Cephalopoda) was studied with electromyography to test predictions of the functional role of the various muscle masses. Previous research had shown the fins to consist of a tightly packed, three-dimensional array of muscle with distinct zones of anaerobic glycolytic and oxidative muscle fibres. In addition, a network of crossed oblique connective tissue fibres was observed within the musculature. In a previous paper a model of the function of the muscle and connective tissue was presented. In the present paper, we present recordings of electrical activity from the various muscle bundles in the fin, in conjunction with the output from an electronic movement-monitoring device, and correlate muscle activity with both the phase and the intensity of the fin-beat cycle. The results obtained here support the hypothesis that the oxidative muscle fibres produce gentle fin movements and are consistent with the hypothesis that the network of crossed oblique connective tissue fibres provides skeletal support. The results also support predictions that the anaerobic glycolytic muscle fibres both produce vigorous fin movements and provide support for that movement. This study provides a critical test of models of the role of the tightly packed, three-dimensional array of muscle found in muscular hydrostats such as the arms and tentacles of cephalopods and tongues of mammals and lizards.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-31
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Publication statusPublished - May 1989


  • Animals
  • Connective Tissue
  • Electromyography
  • Mollusca/*physiology
  • Muscles/anatomy & histology/*physiology
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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