, Volume 214, Issue 1, pp 67-80

Fine structural study of the statocysts in the veliger larva of the nudibranch, Rostanga pulchra

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Summary

The two statocysts of the veliger larva of Rostanga pulchra are positioned within the base of the foot. They are spherical, fluid-filled capsule that contain a large, calcareous statolith and several smaller concretions. The epithelium of the statocyst is composed of 10 ciliated sensory cells (hair cells) and 11 accessory cells. The latter group stains darkly and includes 2 microvillous cells, 7 supporting cells, and 2 glial cells. The hair cells stain lightly and each gives rise to an axon; two types can be distinguished. The first type, in which a minimum of 3 cilia are randomly positioned on the apical cell membrane, is restricted to the upper portion of the statocyst. The second type, in which 9 to 11 cilia are arranged in a slightly curved row, is found exclusively around the base of the statocyst. Each statocyst is connected dorso-laterally to the ipsilateral cerebral ganglion by a short static nerve, formed by axons arising from the hair cells. Ganglionic neurons synapse with these axons as the static nerve enters the cerebral ganglion. The lumen of the statocyst is continuous with a blind constricted canal located beneath the static nerve.

A diagram showing the structure of the statocyst and its association with the nervous system is presented. Possible functions of the statocyst in relation to larval behavior are discussed.