Advertisement

Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Circadian organization of an animal lacking a pineal organ; the young American alligator,Alligator mississippiensis

Summary

Circadian rhythms were examined in young American alligators,Alligator mississippiensis, an animal that naturally lacks a pineal organ. Individual alligators displayed persistent, stable, free-running circadian activity rhythms under both constant darkness and constant illumination. Free-running activity was entrained by 24 h light-dark cycles. The circadian period length was also temperature compensated, with Q10's of 1.0–1.40 obtained for a 22–32 °C interval. The presence of this quite ‘normal’ circadian rhythmicity in alligators indicates that the pineal organ is not always essential for the expression of circadian rhythms in lower vertebrates.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

References

  1. Aschoff, J.: Circadian rhythms: Influences of internal and external factors on the period measured under constant conditions. Z. Tierpsychol.49, 225–249 (1979)

  2. Enright, J.T.: The search for rhythmicity in biological time series. J. Theor. Biol.8, 426–468 (1965)

  3. Gern, W.A., Owens, D.W., Ralph, C.L., Roth, J.J.: Plasma melatonin from extra-pineal sites. Am. Zool.18, 557 (1978)

  4. Gwinner, E.: Effects of pinealectomy on circadian locomotor activity rhythms in European starlings,Sturnus vulgaris. J. Comp. Physiol.126, 123–129 (1978)

  5. Kavaliers, M.: Extraretinal mediation of response to temperature and light in hatchling alligators. J. Comp. Physiol.136, 243–246 (1980a)

  6. Kavaliers, M.: Circadian rhythm of extraretinal photosensitivity in hatchling alligators. Photochem. Photobiol.32, 67–70 (1980b)

  7. Kelly, D.E.: Pineal organs: Photoreception, secretion and development. Am. Sci.50, 597–625 (1962)

  8. Krabbe, K.H.: Studies on the morphogenesis of the brain in reptiles, pp. 48–57. Copenhagen: Einar Munckas Gkarde (1939)

  9. Lang, J.W.: Amphibious behavior ofAlligator mississippiensis: roles of a circadian rhythm and light. Science191, 575–577 (1976)

  10. Lierse, W.: Die Gefäßversorgung der Epiphyse und Paraphyse bei Reptilien. In: Progress in brain research: Structure and function of the epiphysis. Kappers, J.A., Schade, J.R. (eds.), pp. 183–192. New York: Elsevier 1965

  11. McIlhenney, E.A.: The alligator's life history. Boston: Christopher 1935

  12. Oksche, A.: Survey of the development and comparative morphology of the pineal organ. In: Progress in brain research: Structure and function of the epiphysis cerebri. Kapper, J.A., Schade, J.R. (eds.), pp. 3–29. New York: Elsevier 1965

  13. Pittendrigh, C.S., Caldarola, P.C.: General homeostasis of the frequency of circadian oscillations. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (Wash.)70, 2697–2701 (1973)

  14. Pittendrigh, C.S., Daan, S.: A functional analysis of circadian pacemakers in nocturnal rodents. I. Stability and lability of spontaneous frequency. J. Comp. Physiol.106, 223–252 (1976)

  15. Reese, A.M.: The development of the brain of the American alligator: the paraphysis and hypophysis. Smithsonian Miss. Coll.1922, 1–20 (1910)

  16. Romer, A.S.: Vertebrate paleontology, 3rd ed., pp. 136–147. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1966

  17. Roth, J.J., Gern, W.A., Roth, E.C., Ralph, C.L., Jacobson, E.: Non-pineal melatonin in the alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). Science (in press) (1980)

  18. Rusak B., Zucker, I.: Neural regulation of circadian rhythms. Physiol. Rev.59, 449–526 (1979)

  19. Sokolove, P.G., Bushell, W.N.: The Chi square periodogram: Its utility for analysis of circadian rhythms. J. Theor. Biol.72, 131–160 (1978)

  20. Sörenson, A.D.: Comparative study of the epiphysis and roof of the diencephalon. J. Comp. Neurol4, 153–170 (1894)

  21. Takahashi, T.S., Menaker, M.: Physiology of avian circadian pacemakers. Fed. Proc.38, 2583–2588 (1979)

  22. Underwood, H.: Circadian organization in lizards: The role of the pineal organ. Science195, 587–589 (1977)

  23. Underwood, H.: Melatonin affects circadian rhythmicity in lizards. J. Comp. Physiol.130, 317–323 (1979)

  24. Walker, A.D.: New light on the origins of birds and crocodiles. Nature237, 257–263 (1972)

Download references

Author information

Additional information

This research was supported by grant NS 12257 for N.I.H. to C.L. Ralph. Alligators were obtained through the courtesy of C.R. Tracy and T. Joanen of the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge, Grand Chenier, Louisiana.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kavaliers, M., Ralph, C.L. Circadian organization of an animal lacking a pineal organ; the young American alligator,Alligator mississippiensis . J. Comp. Physiol. 139, 287–292 (1980). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00610460

Download citation

Keywords

  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Activity Rhythm
  • Period Length
  • Lower Vertebrate
  • Constant Darkness