The bilateral patterns of forward and reversed scaphognathite (SG) pumping are described for the American lobster. During forward pumping the two SGs usually function synchronously, but may also function independently. The nine muscles of one SG are arranged into four functional groups which are sequentially active during forward pumping. During reversed beats, motor neurones to one group of muscles are inactive while bursts to another are either delayed or missing. Reversal beats do not appear to alter the phasing of the central oscillators that generate the basic SG rhythm. Phase analysis of bilateral SG beating demonstrates two types of relationship: phase coupling or phase drifting with a tendency to couple. An animal may remain in one state for long periods of time or may alternate between states. Coupling can occur at more than one phase indicating phase multistability. The coupled state may remain constant at markedly different frequencies of beating, indicating phase rather than latency coupling between SGs. During the drifting state each SG tends to assume its “intrinsic” rate of oscillation. The drift state reflects the inherent asymmetry of the two SG systems. The influence of several parameters of sensory stimulation on phase and frequency of SG beating are analyzed.