Feeding, regurgitation, and rejection in the marine gastropod Pleurobranchaea all involve similar but not identical rhythmic movements of buccal mass structures such as the radula, jaws and lips. The part of the motor pattern which produces rhythmic radula movement, as recorded in the major external muscles of the buccal mass of behaving semi-intact preparations, was similar during the three different types of behaviour, suggesting that they share a common motor-pattern generator. Other parts of the motor pattern were only obviously different during the vomiting phase of regurgitation. Differences in the function and motor patterns of feeding and rejection are presumably accounted for by differences in the activity of muscles which could not be recorded from in this study (e.g. jaw muscles). A general conclusion is that buccal rhythms in gastropods cannot automatically be assumed to underlie feeding, and this is particularly true for dissected preparations which do not execute a clear behavioural response. It would be necessary either to record motor activity that is unique for a given behaviour, or to employ preparations which execute unambiguous behavioural responses.
- © 1982 by Company of Biologists