Tragicus muscle

Last revised by Reabal Najjar on 8 May 2023

The tragicus muscle is an intrinsic muscle of the outer ear that facilitates the opening of the external auditory canal and assists in minor movement of the tragus.


  • origin: base of tragus

  • insertion: apex of tragus

  • blood supply: branches of facial arteries

  • innervation: facial nerve (CN VII)

  • action: opening of the external auditory canal, minor movement of the tragus

The tragicus muscle is a short, flat intrinsic muscle of the auricle, originating at the base of the tragus, positioned lateral to the tragus itself.

The muscle inserts vertically on the lateral aspect of the tragus, oriented perpendicularly to the antitragicus muscle.

The blood supply to the intrinsic muscles of the ear is provided by the anterior auricular branches of the superficial temporal artery, the posterior auricular branch of the external carotid artery, and the occipital artery.

The primary venous drainage routes for the tragicus muscle include the pterygoid plexus, external jugular vein, and maxillary vein.

Innervation of the tragicus muscle is primarily through the temporal and posterior auricular branches of the facial nerve (CN VII).

The primary action of the tragicus muscle is to assist in minor movements of the tragus, which may play a role in modulating sound conduction into the external auditory canal.

There is considerable variation in the size, shape, and presence of the tragicus muscle among individuals. In some cases, the muscle may be absent or rudimentary 3.

The term "tragicus" is derived from the Greek word "tragos," meaning "goat," which is thought to be in reference to the hair that commonly grows on the tragus in humans, resembling a goat's beard.

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