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Prey capture phase of feeding behavior in the pteropod mollusc, clione limacina: neuronal mechanisms

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The prey capture phase of feeding behavior in the pteropod mollusc Clione limacina consists of an explosive extrusion of buccal cones, specialized structures which are used to catch the prey, and acceleration of swimming with frequent turning and looping produced by tail bend. A system of neurons which control different components of prey capture behavior in Clione has been identified in the cerebral ganglia. Cerebral B and L neurons produce retraction of buccal cones and tightening of the lips over them — their spontaneous spike activities maintain buccal cones in the withdrawn position. Cerebral A neurons inhibit B and L cells and produce opening of the lips and extrusion of buccal cones. A pair of cerebral interneurons C-BM activates cerebral A neurons and synchronously initiates the feeding motor program in the buccal ganglia. Cerebral T neurons initiate acceleration of swimming and produce tail bending which underlies turning and looping during the prey capture. Both tactile and chemical inputs from the prey produce activation of cerebral A and T neurons. This reaction appears to be specific, since objects other than alive Limacina or Limacina juice do not initiate activities of A and T neurons.

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Norekian, T.P. Prey capture phase of feeding behavior in the pteropod mollusc, clione limacina: neuronal mechanisms. J Comp Physiol A 177, 41–53 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00243397

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Key words

  • Mollusc
  • Feeding
  • Motoneurons
  • Sensory inputs