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Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Unit on Behavioral Neurogenetics


Acoustic stimuli elicit two main types of response. 'SLC' responses are short latency, high performance maneuvers that rapidly displace the larvae from its original position. These responses are initiated within 8-15 ms of the stimulus (depending on temperature) and consistent of an initial C-bend to one side, following by a large C-bend to the other side, then a bout of burst swimming. These movements are so explosive that larvae frequently roll sideways as in the example on the right. SLC responses are highly stereotyped 'all-or-nothing' events produced by the firing of the Mauthner cell. Thus although the probability of triggering an SLC increases with more intense stimuli, the magnitude and speed of the response does not change.