Statoconia formation in molluscan statocysts.

M. L. Wiederhold, C. E. Sheridan, N. K. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The gravity sensors of all molluscs phylogenetically below the cephalopods are spherical organs called statocysts. The wall of the sphere contains mechanosensory cells whose sensory cilia project into the lumen of the cyst. The lumen is filled with fluid and dense "stones", the statoconia or statoliths, which sink under the influence of gravity to load, and stimulate, those receptor cells which are at the bottom. The statoconia of Aplysia californica are shown to be calcified about a lamellar arrangement of membranes. Similar lamellar membrane arrangements are seen within the receptor cells, and their possible role in the formation of the statoconia is discussed. SEM of unfixed statoconia reveals plate-like crystallization on their surface. Elemental analysis shows a relatively high Sr content, which is of interest, since others have recently reported that Sr is required in the culture medium of several laboratory reared molluscs in order for the statoconia to develop.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-792
Number of pages12
JournalScanning Electron Microscopy
Issue numberPt 2
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Biophysics


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