Marine Biology

, Volume 145, Issue 6, pp 1159–1165 | Cite as

Conspecific injury fluids induce an electrophysiological response in the clonal tunicate Clavelina huntsmani

  • N. Pelletier
Research Article


Electrophysiological activity in the branchial basket of the clonal tunicate Clavelina huntsmani was monitored while exposing study specimens to injury fluids of conspecifics. Extracellular suction electrode recordings were used. Ciliary arrest potentials, generated by simultaneous arrest of stigmatal cilia across the branchial basket, were consistently precipitated within 3 min of exposure to conspecific injury fluids. Control fluid cues, including boiled fluid from injured conspecifics, did not provoke a similar response. This suggests that a heat-labile compound—potentially an alarm pheromone—is involved. The species-specific nature of the response constitutes the first evidence produced for alarm signaling in ascidians. This may serve to advance our understanding of both predator–prey interactions in sessile, clonal marine invertebrates and the possible ecological relevance of some of the diverse bioactive metabolites produced by ascidians.


Alarm Pheromone Alarm Signaling Ciliary Beat Frequency Injury Fluid Sterile Seawater 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology DepartmentUniversity of VictoriaVernonCanada

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