22 September 2015

Tuesday Crustie: Speedster

This animal has a superpower:


Undinula vulgaris has one of the fastest reaction times in the the animal kingdom: 1.5-3 milliseconds. Most animals can barely get a message from one neuron to another in that amount time, never mind detect a stimulus, process it, send a signal to muscles, and make them contract.

How do they do it? Part of the answer is that they have myelinated neurons, which is unusual for an invertebrate (Lenz et al. 2000, Wetherby et al. 2000).


Lenz PH, Hartline DK. 1999. Reaction times and force production during escape behavior of a calanoid copepod, Undinula vulgaris. Marine Biology 133(2): 249-258. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s002270050464

Lenz PH, Hartline DK, Davis AD. 2000. The need for speed. I. Fast reactions and myelinated axons in copepods. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 186: 337-345. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s003590050434

Weatherby TM, Davis AD, Hartline DK, Lenz PH. 2000. The need for speed. II. Myelin in calanoid copepods. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 186: 347-357. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s003590050435

External links

What animal has the fastest reaction time?

Photo from here.

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