Fine structure of the cephalic sensory organ in veliger larvae of Littorina littorea, (L.) (Mesogastropoda, Littorinidae)

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The cephalic sensory organ (CSO) in planktonic veliger larvae of Littorina littorea is situated dorsally between the velar lobes at the level of the shell aperture. It consists of ciliated primary sensory cells, adjacent accessory cells and supporting epithelial cells. Cell bodies of the ciliated cells originate in the cerebral commissure and their dendrites pass to the epidermis. The flask-shaped sensory cells are characterized by a deep invaginated lumen with modified cilia arising from the cell surface in the lumen. These cilia are presumed to be non-motile because they lack striated rootlets and show a modified microtubular pattern (6 + 2, 7 + 2 and 8 + 2). The adjacent accessory cells never possess an invaginated lumen; occasionally cilia and branched microvilli arise from the apical surface. These cells may be sensory, but there is no obvious direct connection with the nervous system. The supporting epithelial cells are part of the epidermis and flank the apical necks of the sensory and accessory cells. Morphological evidence suggests that the CSO may function in chemoreception related to substrate selection at settlement, feeding or other behaviour.

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Uthe, D. Fine structure of the cephalic sensory organ in veliger larvae of Littorina littorea, (L.) (Mesogastropoda, Littorinidae). Hydrobiologia 309, 45–52 (1995).

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Key words

  • Littorina littorea
  • veliger
  • ultrastructure
  • cephalic sensory organ
  • ciliated sensory cells