Jun 1, 1975

Colonial conduction systems in the Anthozoa: Octocorallia

The Journal of Experimental Biology
G A Shelton


1. The octocorals Alcyonium digitatum, Pennatula phosphorea and Virgularia mirabilis each have a through-conducting nerve net. The nerve net demonstrated electrophysiologically may well be the same as that previously shown by the use of histological techniques. 2. It exhibits both facilitation and defacilitation in the rate of conduction of pulses. 3. The distance of spread of nerve net activity is not limited by the number of stimuli applied. 4. The nerve net controls fast muscle contractions; the frequency of pulses is important in determining which muscles contract and in which sequence. 5. The nerve net is 'spontaneously' active. 6. A previously undescirbed slow system has been identified in Pennatula. It has many of the properties of slow systems in sea anemones and may well be ectodermal. It is suggested that multiple conduction systems are of common occurrence in the Anthozoa.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Physiologic Pulse
Alcyonium digitatum
Synaptic Transmission
Pennatula phosphorea
Sea Anemones

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