Giant Muscle Fibers in a Barnacle, Balanus nubilus Darwin

Science  04 Jan 1963:
Vol. 139, Issue 3549, pp. 49-50
DOI: 10.1126/science.139.3549.49


Cross-striated muscle fibers of very large size have been found in the scutal-tergal adductor and depressor muscles of the large barnacle B. nubilus. Adductor muscle fibers are up to 2 mm thick. They are innervated by separate nerves, each supplying one end, but not the central region, with terminals; each fiber receives two or three excitor axons. Depressor muscle fibers are up to 1.4 mm thick and receive multiterminal innervation along their entire length; they are innervated by two excitor axons. Postsynaptic potentials are of small or large size and lead to small or large twitches; they do not show facilitation. The muscle fibers shorten to as little as one-sixth resting length.