Biological Rhythms

pp 129-143

The Circadian Organization of Reptiles

  • C. BertolucciAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of Ferrara
  • , A. FoàAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of Ferrara
  • , G. TosiniAffiliated withNeuroscience Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine

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The present review summarizes the current knowledge of the circadian organization of Reptiles. This taxonomic group has provided (and continue to provide) a very useful experimental model for the understanding of the vertebrate circadian system. The circadian organization of reptiles is multioscillatory in nature. The retinas, the pineal and the parietal eye (and, possibly, the SCN) contain circadian clocks. Of particular interest is the observation that the role these structures play in the circadian organization varies considerably among species and within the same species in different seasons. Another remarkable feature of this class is the redundancy of circadian photoreceptors: retinas of the lateral eyes, pineal, parietal eye and the brain all contain photoreceptors.