Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 154, Issue 2, pp 279–286 | Cite as

Visual cells and visual pigments of the lamprey,Lampetra fluviatilis

  • V. I. Govardovskii
  • D. V. Lychakov


The long and short photoreceptors in the lamprey retina possess similar cone-like outer segments where many disks are infoldings of the outer plasmic membrane. Following the treatment by the Hartwig's (1967) method, outer segments of the long receptors are stained red, and those of the short receptor are stained blue, like the cones and rods in higher vertebrates, resp. (Fig. 1). Microspectrophotometry has shown that the short cells contain P5171 whereas the long receptors possess P5551 (Fig. 3). Spectral sensitivity of the dark-adapted retina measured by electroretinographic b-wave and aspartate-isolated receptor potential, corresponds to P517 (Figs. 5, 8). Judging from the receptor potential, the short receptors do not saturate at high illuminances and contribute to the retinal function in photopic conditions as well (Fig. 7). Photopic ERG is of a typical cone-dominant shape (Fig. 4).

It is concluded that the long photoreceptors of the lamprey retina are cones whereas the short cells should be regarded as a peculiar kind of rods which possess cone ultrastructure and can operate in scotopic as well as in photopic conditions.


Retina Spectral Sensitivity Outer Segment Receptor Potential Visual Pigment 
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late receptor potential


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. I. Govardovskii
    • 1
  • D. V. Lychakov
    • 1
  1. 1.I.M. Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and BiochemistryLeningradUSSR

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