The fine structure of the statocyst of Octopus vulgaris

  • V. C. Barber


The macula and crista in the statocyst of Octopus vulgaris are composed of hair cells and supporting cells. Below these cells is a nerve plexus, which contains a third type of cell, the “dark” cell. Each hair cell bears kinocilia and microvilli at its distal end. The kinocilia have the typical 9 + 2 arrangement of filaments and in each cell the cilia are arranged in an elongated group of up to 200. Roots of the kinocilia are present in the hair cells and they have banding periodicity of 700 Å. The supporting cells bear microvilli at their distal ends and are attached to the hair cells by desmosomes. The plexus contains the “dark” cells, which appear to send processes throughout the plexus. Synapses have not been found upon their perikaryon or processes and it is suggested that the “dark” cells may be a sort of glial cell. Apart from containing the axons of the hair cells, and the processes and cell bodies of the “dark” cells, the plexus contains synapses. These synapses are of several different sorts. There are synapses at the bases of the hair cells or with their processes. There are spines projecting into the hair cells, the spines being post-synaptic, and there are also other synapses involving processes or axons of cells whose identity is uncertain. The synapses are provisionally grouped as collateral or centrifugal.


Glial Cell Fine Structure Cell Body Hair Cell Supporting Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Afzelius, B.: Electron microscopy of the sperm tail. Results obtained with a new fixative. J. biophys. biochem. Cytol. 5, 269–278 (1959).Google Scholar
  2. Barber, V.C.: Preliminary observations on the fine structure of the Octopus statocyst. J. Microscop. 4, 547–550 (1965).Google Scholar
  3. , and P. Graziadei: The fine structure of cephalopod blood vessels. 1. Some smaller peripheral vessels. Z. Zellforsch. 66, 765–781 (1965).Google Scholar
  4. Boycott, B.B.: The functioning of the statocysts of Octopus vulgaris. Proc. roy. Soc. B 152, 78–87 (1960).Google Scholar
  5. Castéjon, O., and G.M. Villegas: Fine structure of the synaptio contacts in the stellate ganglia of the squid. J. Ultrastruct. Res. 10, 585–598 (1964).Google Scholar
  6. Dijkgraaf, S.: The statocyst of Octopus vulgaris as a rotation receptor. Pubbl. Staz. zool. Napoli 32, 64–87 (1961).Google Scholar
  7. : Nystagmus and related phenomena in Sepia officinalis. Experientia (Basel) 19, 29 (1963a).Google Scholar
  8. : Versuche über Schallwahrnehmung bei Tintenfischen. Naturwissenschaften 50, 50 (1963b).Google Scholar
  9. Dilly, P.N., E.G. Gray, and J.Z. Young: Electron microscopy of optic nerves and optic lobes of Octopus and Eledone. Proc. roy. Soc. B 158, 446–456 (1963).Google Scholar
  10. Fawcett, D.W., and K.R. Porter: A study of the fine structure of ciliated epithelia. J. Morph. 94, 221–282 (1954).Google Scholar
  11. Flock, A.: Structure of the macula utriculi with special reference to directional interplay of sensory responses as revealed by morphological polarization. J. Cell Biol. 22, 413–431 (1964).Google Scholar
  12. , and A.J. Duvall: The ultrastructure of the kinocilium of the sensory cells in the inner ear and lateral line organs. J. Cell Biol. 25, 1–8 (1965).Google Scholar
  13. , and J. Wersäll: Synaptic structures in the lateral line canal organ of the teleost fish Lota vulgaris. J. Cell Biol. 13, 337–343 (1962).Google Scholar
  14. Gibbons, I.R.: The relationship between the fine structure and direction of beat in gill cilia of a lamellibranch mollusc. J. biophys. biochem. Cytol. 11, 179–205 (1961).Google Scholar
  15. Glauert, A.M., and R.H. Glauert: Araldite as an embedding medium for electron microscopy. J. biophys. biochem. Cytol. 4, 191–194 (1958).Google Scholar
  16. Gray, E.G.: Axosomatic and axodendritic synapses of the cerebral cortex: an electron microscope study. J. Anat. (Lond.) 93, 420–433 (1959a).Google Scholar
  17. : Electron microscopy of collagen-like connective tissue fibrils of an insect. Proc. roy. Soc. B 150, 233–239 (1959b).Google Scholar
  18. : The fine structure of the insect ear. Phil. Trans. B 243, 75–94 (1960).Google Scholar
  19. , and J.Z. Young: Electron microscopy of synaptic structure of Octopus brain. J. Cell Biol. 21, 87–103 (1964).Google Scholar
  20. Graziadei, P.: Electron microscopy of some primary receptors in the sucker of Octopus vulgaris. Z. Zellforsch. 64, 510–522 (1964).Google Scholar
  21. : Electron microscope observations of some peripheral synapses in the sensory pathway of the sucker of Octopus vulgaris. Z. Zellforsch. 65, 363–379 (1965).Google Scholar
  22. Hama, K.: Some observations on the fine structure of the giant synapse in the stellate ganglion of the squid Doryteuphis bleekeri. Z. Zellforsch. 56, 437–444 (1962).Google Scholar
  23. : Some observations on the fine structure of the lateral line organ of the Japanese sea eel Lyncozymba nystromi. J. Cell Biol. 24, 193–210(1965).Google Scholar
  24. Hamlyn-Harris, R.: Die Statozysten der Cephalopoden. Zool. Jb. 18, 327–358 (1903).Google Scholar
  25. Holt, S.J., and M.R. Hicks: The localization of acid phosphatase in rat liver cells as revealed by combined cytochemical staining and electron microscopy. J. biophys. biochem. Cytol. 11, 47–66 (1961).Google Scholar
  26. Horridge, G.A.: Relations between nerves and cilia in ctenophores. Amer. Zoologist. 5, 357–375 (1965).Google Scholar
  27. Hubbard, S.J.: Hearing and the octopus statocyst. J. exp. Biol. 37, 845–853 (1960).Google Scholar
  28. Iurato, A.: Efferent fibres to the sensory cells of Corti's organ. Exp. Cell Res. 27, 162–164 (1962).Google Scholar
  29. Klein, K.: Die Nervenendingungen in der Statozyste von Sepia. Z. Zellforsch. 14, 481–516 (1932).Google Scholar
  30. Lowenstein, O., and M.P. Osborne: Ultrastructure of the sensory hair cells in the labyrinth of the ammocoete larva of the lamprey, Lampetra fluviatilis. Nature (Lond.) 204, 197–198 (1964).Google Scholar
  31. and J. Wersäll: Structure and innervation of the sensory epithelia of the labyrinth in the thornback ray (Raja clavata). Proc. roy. Soc. B 160, 1–12 (1964).Google Scholar
  32. Luft, J.H.: Permanganate — a new fixative for electron microscopy. J. biophys. biochem. Cytol. 2, 799–802 (1956).Google Scholar
  33. Maturana, H.R., and S. Sperling: Undirectional response to angular acceleration recorded from the middle cristal nerve in the statocyst of Octopus vulgaris. Nature (Lond.) 197, 815–816 (1963).Google Scholar
  34. Revel, J.P., L. Napolitano, and D.W. Fawcett: Identification of glycogen in electron micrographs of thin tissue sections. J. biophys. biochem. Cytol. 8, 575–589 (1960).Google Scholar
  35. Reynolds, E.S.: The use of lead citrate at high pH as an electron opaque stain in electron microscopy. J. Cell Biol. 17, 208–212 (1963).Google Scholar
  36. Rhodin, J., and T. Dalhamn: Electron microscopy of the ciliated mucosa in rat. Z. Zellforsch. 44, 345–412 (1956).Google Scholar
  37. Smith, C.A., and G.L. Rasmussen: Degeneration in the efferent nerve endings in the cochlea after axonal section. J. Cell. Biol. 26, 63–77 (1965).Google Scholar
  38. and F.S. Sjöstrand: Structure of the nerve endings on the external hair cells of the guinea pig cochlea as studied by serial sections. J. Ultrastruct. Res. 5, 523–556 (1961).Google Scholar
  39. Spoendlin, H.H., and R.R. Gacek: Electron microscope study of the efferent and afferent innervation of the organ of Corti in the cat. Ann. Otol. (St. Louis) 72, 660–687 (1963).Google Scholar
  40. Wells, M.J.: Proprioception and visual discrimination of orientation in Octopus. J. exp. Biol. 37, 489–499 (1960).Google Scholar
  41. Wersäll, J.: Vestibular receptor cells in fish and mammals. Acta oto-laryng. (Stockh.) 163, Suppl. 25–29 (1961).Google Scholar
  42. Young, J.Z.: The statocysts of Octopus vulgaris. Proc. roy. Soc. B 152, 3–29 (1960).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1966

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. C. Barber
    • 1
  1. 1.Anatomy DepartmentUniversity College LondonUK

Personalised recommendations