Oct 1, 1975

An electrophysiological analysis of chemoreception in the sea anemone Tealia felina

The Journal of Experimental Biology
I D Dawn


1. Electrophysiological techniques have been employed to examine the nature of the response observed in the ectodermal slow-conduction system (SSI) when dissolved food substances contact the column of Tealia felina. The response seems to consist entirely of sensory activity which may continue for periods of many minutes, provided that the stimulatory chemicals remain contacting the column. 2. The interval between each evoked pulse gradually increases as the sensory response progresses. This does not result from fatigue in the conduction system but involves a genuine process of sensory adaptation. This may occur over a period of several minutes, which is much longer than comparable adaptation in higher animals. 3. Physiological evidence suggests that the chemoreceptors involved are dispersed throughout the column ectoderm and are absent from the pedal disc, oral disc, tentacles and pharynx. 4. The basic role of the SSI in coordinating behavioural activity in sea anemones is reviewed. It is concluded that it functions primarily as a single, diffuse-conducting unit responsible for transmitting frequency-coded sensory information from ectodermal chemoreceptors to ectodermal (and perhaps endodermal) effectors.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Sea Anemones
Chemoreceptor Cells
Nerve Impulses
Feeding Patterns

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