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A new inhibitory pathway in the jellyfish Polyorchis penicillatus

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Contact of food with the manubrial lips in the genus Polyorchis A. Agassiz, 1862 evokes trains of electrical impulses (E potentials) that propagate to the margin. E potentials are also produced by food stimuli at the margin and tentacle bases. E potentials are shown to be associated with inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (ipsps) in the swimming motor neurons and contribute to the arrest of swimming during feeding. The conduction pathway for E potentials is a nerve plexus located in the endodermal walls of the stomach and radial and ring canals. We have explored the conducting properties of the system; the conduction velocity varies with stimulus frequency but is about 15 cm/s when stimuli are more than 50 s apart. Neurites belonging to the E system run around the margin adjacent to the inner nerve ring, where the swimming pacemaker neurons are located. We suggest that they may make inhibitory synapses on to the swimming motor neurons, but this has yet to be demonstrated anatomically. The reversal potential for ipsps, recorded intracellularly with potassium acetate micropipettes, was estimated to be about –69 mV. Swimming inhibition mediated by this endodermal pathway is distinct from that observed during protective “crumpling” behaviour and that associated with contractions of the radial muscles seen during feeding, though it may accompany the latter.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 3N5, Canada. 2: Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK. 3: Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, BC V9R 5S5, Canada.

Publication date: 2012-02-24

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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