Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 141, Issue 1, pp 101–109 | Cite as

Complex mechanoreceptors inTritonia diomedea

I. Responses to mechanical and chemical stimuli
  • Gerald Audesirk
  • Teresa Audesirk


  1. 1.

    A cluster of small neurons located in each cerebral ganglion ofTritonia diomedea responds to mechanical and chemical stimulation of receptive areas of the ipsilateral oral veil and anterior foot (Figs. 2, 3).

  2. 2.

    These neurons respond to several types of chemical stimuli, but appear to be excited most strongly by extracts of sea whip,Virgularia sp. (Fig. 3, Table 1), a normal prey ofTritonia.

  3. 3.

    These neurons appear to be primary mechano-receptors with receptive endings in the ipsilateral foot (accessed via PdN 1) and oral veil (accessed via both CeN 2 and CeN 3; Fig. 4). Receptive fields of different branches of the same receptor (Fig. 4) and of different receptors (Fig. 5) overlap in the oral veil.

  4. 4.

    The mechanoreceptors are not primary chemoreceptors but receive excitation via chemical synapses from chemoreceptors located in the periphery (Fig. 6). At least some of this synaptic input is peripheral in origin.

  5. 5.

    Ipsilateral mechanoreceptors are electrically coupled to one another by non-rectifying electrical junctions (Fig. 7). No contralateral inputs or interactions between receptors were found.

  6. 6.

    A model is presented for the anatomy and wiring of these complex receptors (Fig. 8).



Receptive Field Complex Receptor Synaptic Input Chemical Stimulus Chemical Stimulation 
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.



pedal nerve


cerebral nerve


right pedal nerve


sea water


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Audesirk, G.: Properties of central motor neurons exciting locomotory cilia inTritonia diomedea. J. Comp. Physiol.128, 259–267 (1978)Google Scholar
  2. Audesirk, G., Audesirk, T.: Complex mechanoreceptors inTritonia diomedea. II. Neuronal correlates of a change in behavioral responsiveness. J. Comp. Physiol.141, 111–122 (1980)Google Scholar
  3. Audesirk, T.: Oral mechanoreceptors inTritonia diomedea. I. Electrophysiological properties and location of receptive fields. J. Comp. Physiol.130, 71–78 (1979)Google Scholar
  4. Audesirk, T., Audesirk, G.: Oral mechanoreceptors inTritonia diomedea. II. Role in feeding. L Comp. Physio.130, 79–86 (1979a)Google Scholar
  5. Audesirk, T., Audesirk, G.: Properties of complex receptors inTritonia diomedea. Soc. Neurosci. Abs.5, 240 (1979b)Google Scholar
  6. Barber, V.C., Wright, D.E.: The fine structure of the sense organs of the cephalopod molluscNautilus. Z. Zellforsch.102, 293–312 (1969)Google Scholar
  7. Bovbjerg, R.V.: Responses to food in lymnaeid snails. Physiol. Zool.41, 412–424 (1968)Google Scholar
  8. Bryant, H.: Differential sensitivity ofAplysia axons to pharmacologic and ionic manipulations. Soc. Neurosci. Abs.3, 173 (1977)Google Scholar
  9. Byrne, J., Castellucci, V., Kandel, E.R.: Receptive fields and response properties of mechanoreceptor neurons innervating siphon skin and mantle shelf inAplysia. J. Neurophysiol.37, 1041–1064 (1974)Google Scholar
  10. Cobbs, J.S., Pinsker, H.M.:In vivo responses of paired giant mechanoreceptor neurons inAplysia abdominal ganglion. J. Neurobiol.9, 121–141 (1978)Google Scholar
  11. Crisp, M.: Structure and abundance of receptors of the unspecialized external epithelium ofNassarius reliculatus (Gastropoda, Prosobranchia). J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K.51, 865–890 (1971)Google Scholar
  12. Emery, D.G.: Ciliated sensory cells and associated neurons in the lip ofOctopus joubioni Robson. Cell Tiss. Res.157, 331–340 (1975a)Google Scholar
  13. Emery, D.G.: Ciliated sensory neurons in the lip of the squidLolligunculus brevis Blairville. Cell Tiss. Res.157, 323–329 (1975b)Google Scholar
  14. Emery, D.G., Audesirk, T.E.: Sensory cells inAplysia. J. Neurobiol.9, 173–179 (1978)Google Scholar
  15. Field, L.H., MacMillan, L.: An electrophysiological and behavioral study of sensory responses inTritonia (Gastropoda, Nudibranchia). Mar. Behav. Physiol.2, 171–185 (1973)Google Scholar
  16. Fredman, S.M., Jahan-Parwar, B.: Identifiable cerebral motor neurons mediating an anterior tentacular withdrawal reflex inAplysia. J. Neurophysiol.40, 608–615 (1977)Google Scholar
  17. Getting, P.A.: Afferent neurons mediating escape swimming of the marine molluscTritonia. J. Comp. Physiol.110, 271–286 (1976)Google Scholar
  18. Janse, C.: A neurophysiological study of the peripheral tactile system of the pond snailLymnaea stagnalis (L.). Neth. J. Zool.24, 93–161 (1974)Google Scholar
  19. Mellon, D.: Electrophysiology of a touch sensitive neuron in a mollusc. J. Comp. Physiol.79, 63–78 (1972)Google Scholar
  20. Nicholls, J.G., Baylor, D.A.: Specific modalities and receptive fields of sensory neurons in CNS of the leech. J. Neurophysiol.31, 740–756 (1968)Google Scholar
  21. Olivo, R.E.: Mechanoreceptor function in the razor clam: sensory aspects of the foot withdrawal reflex. Comp. Biochem. Physiol.3, 761–786 (1970)Google Scholar
  22. Willows, A.O.D.: Behavioral acts elicited by stimulation of single identifiable nerve cells. Science157, 570–574 (1967)Google Scholar
  23. Willows, A.O.D.: Physiology of feeding inTritonia. I. Behavior and mechanics. Mar. Behav. Physiol.5, 115–135 (1978)Google Scholar
  24. Willows, A.O.D., Hoyle, G.: Neuronal network triggering a fixed action pattern. Science166, 1549–1551 (1969)Google Scholar
  25. Willows. A.O.D., Dorsett, D.A., Hoyle, G.: The neuronal basis of behavior inTritonia. III. Neuronal mechanisms of a fixed action pattern. J. Neurobiol.4, 255–285 (1973)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Audesirk
    • 1
  • Teresa Audesirk
    • 1
  1. 1.Friday Harbor LaboratoriesUniversity of WashingtonFriday HarborUSA

Personalised recommendations