The three types of motor axons found in the walking legs of the lobster were shown to respond differently upon exposure to calcium-free solutions. While all fiber types became more excitable initially in calcium-free solutions, only openers became spontaneously active. Fast closers showed the least reduction in rheobase value upon calcium depletion. After 5 minutes in calcium-free solution all fibers showed a rise in rheobase value, and more rapid accommodation. A natural period for spontaneous firing of opener fibers was disclosed. Following such a spontaneous discharge, low amplitude rhythmical potentials were recorded. These small potentials had the same period as the spontaneous spikes. The role of calcium ion in the excitable process was discussed.
Magnesium ion was shown to act synergistically with calcium ion. All fiber types became spontaneously active in solutions deprived of both calcium and magnesium. Subsequent hypoexcitability was more pronounced in calcium- and magnesium-depleted solutions than it was in only calcium-depleted solutions.