Marine Biology

, Volume 95, Issue 2, pp 259–266 | Cite as

Ultrastructure and behavior of the larva of Phragmatopoma californica (Polychaeta: Sabellariidae): identification of sensory organs potentially involved in substrate selection

  • M. R. Amieva
  • C. G. Reed
  • J. R. Pawlik


The tentacles of the larvae of Phragmatopoma californica (Fewkes) a tubicolous, reef-building polychaete, were examined by video-equipped light microscopy and transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The surface of the tentacles has a unique ciliation pattern, consisting of dorsal tufts of short immotile cilia, ventrolateral tufts of short and long immotile cilia, and ventral motile cilia. Cells bearing immotile cilia are primary sensory cells with long basal processes that form synapses with basiepithelial nerve fibers. The sensory cell cytoplasm is similar to that of nervous tissue, and contains microtubules, neurofilaments, and synaptic vesicles. Sensory cell synapses with basiepithelial nerves appear to be both axodendritic and axoaxonic. The structure of the immotile cilia is compared to that of motile cilia. Unlike motile cilia, immotile cilia are short, rigid, end in a blunt tip and possess and axoneme with typically arranged mictotubules that terminate in an electron-dense end plate. The basal feet of immotile cilia do not anastomose with adjacent basal bodies, and the ciliary membrane is loosely applied to the axoneme and is covered by a surface coat of filamentous material. The use of the larval tentacles during substrate exploration, and the location and ultrastructure of sensory cilia, indicate that they may be involved in the perception of substrateassociated chemical signals and/or mechanical cues of significance in substrate selection.


Polychaeta Synaptic Vesicle Sensory Organ Basal Body Cell Cytoplasm 
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.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. R. Amieva
    • 1
  • C. G. Reed
    • 1
  • J. R. Pawlik
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA
  2. 2.Scripps Institution of OceanographyLa JollaUSA

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