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Observations On the Function and the Structure of the Statocysts of Lymnaea Stagnalis (L.)

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Experiments on the function of the statocyst 1. Normal, unoperated specimens of Lymnaea stagnalis show a positive geotaxis when placed upon a slope in air, and a negative geotaxis upon a slope in oxygen-poor water. The tracks deviate slightly from the perpendicular on the slope. 2. Specimens, from which both statocysts have been removed, have lost the ability of geotactic orientation upon a slope in air as well as in water. 3. Upon a slope, unilaterally statocyst-ectomized snails deviate to the intact body side during positive geotaxis, and to the operated body side when showing negative geotaxis. The structure of the statocysts Light microscopy 4. The epithelium of the statocyst is composed of two types of primary neurosensory cells (high and low sense cells) and of supporting cells. 5. The high sense cells are mainly located at the ventro-medio-caudal side and the low sense cells at the dorso-latero-rostral side of the statocyst. This morphological polarity of the statocyst is discussed with regard to the functional polarity (see 3). Electron microscopy 6. The fine structure of the three epithelial cell types is described. The differences between the high and low sense cells, which are mainly quantitative in nature, are discussed in view of the functional polarity of the statocyst. 7. The fine structure of the cilia, which are only present on the sense cells, was studied. All ciliary basal feet point away from the centre of the cell surface. 8. In the centre of the proximal part of the static nerve, which is composed of two bundles of thin and thick axons, respectively, a short, tube-like diverticulum of the lumen of the statocyst is present. 9. In normal as well as in regenerating statocysts statoliths are formed intracellularly in supporting cells and in undifferentiated cells, respectively.

Affiliations: 1: (Zoological Department, Free Universiry, Amsterdam


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