Diversity and Regression in the Amphibian Lateral Line and Electrosensory System

  • Bernd Fritzsch


Amphibians possess, at least as larvae, a system of placodally derived secondary sensory cells aggregated into organs on the head and the trunk. Similar to many fishes (Northcutt 1986), two amphibian orders, urodeles and gymnophionans, possess two types of organs: mechanoreceptive neuromasts (the lateral line) and electroreceptive ampullary organs (the electrosensory system). The third order, the anurans, possess only neuromasts (Fritzsch and Münz 1986; Fig. 5. 1a). Present in all aquatic larvae and some in utero embryos, these organs are lost in many, but not all, amphibians during metamorphosis (Wahnschaffe et al. 1987). Moreover, in some amphibians, without free-living larvae, none of these organs seem to be formed, and they are absent in all amniotic vertebrates (Escher 1925).


Hair Cell Lateral Line Lateral Line System Trunk Line Lateral Line Nerve 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

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  • Bernd Fritzsch

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